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Investigation of aflatoxin and ochratoxin A contamination of seized cannabis and cannabis resin samples


Recreational cannabis is being legalized in more and more countries, and methods for the determination of contaminants, thereunder mycotoxins, start to emerge in scientific literature. On the other hand, cannabis continues being available on the illegal market without any quality control at all. Today, no information about mycotoxin contamination of illegal cannabis is available in literature. Therefore, in order to increase knowledge about mycotoxin contamination of cannabis, aflatoxins (AF) and ochratoxin A (OTA) were analyzed in 142 samples of illegal cannabis seized on the local market using a method based on HPLC-FLD detection, after clean up with immuno-affinity cartridges. AF were derivatized prior to detection with a Kobra cell. No AF contamination (LOD = 0.04 µg/kg) was detected in any of the samples analyzed. OTA however was detected in about one-third of the samples with an average concentration of 4.30 µg/kg (range from 1.02 to 16.21 µg/kg). No significant difference was observed between resin and herbal samples. Overall, the concentrations remain low and do not suggest an issue to human health if the cannabis consumption remains moderate.

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Correspondence to Claude Schummer.

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Buchicchio, L., Asselborn, L., Schneider, S. et al. Investigation of aflatoxin and ochratoxin A contamination of seized cannabis and cannabis resin samples. Mycotoxin Res 38, 71–78 (2022).

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  • Cannabis
  • Aflatoxins
  • Ochratoxin A
  • Immunoaffinity cleanup