Shimadzu has produced an application note describing an LC/MS/MS method for direct quantitation of artificial sweeteners in surface and drinking water.
With a growing population of health-conscious individuals, the craving for sweetness without calories has made artificial sweeteners a popular option in food, beverages and pharmaceuticals. However, studies have reported that artificial sweeteners such as acesulfame (ACE), cyclamate (CYC), saccharin (SAC), aspartame(ASP) and sucralose (SUC), are able to persist through wastewater treatment plants and are detected in surface water all over the world. Several scientific evidences have also indicated that the accumulation of artificial sweeteners has a major impact on our aquatic community. With these observations, artificial sweeteners have been classified as an emerging environmental contaminant and surveillance strategies are crucial.
Several detection methods have been developed to determine artificial sweetener content in water. In this study, we described an LC/MS/MS method for direct quantitation of artificial sweeteners in surface water and drinking water. Using the triple quadrupole system LCMS-8060 coupled with a biphenyl column, we could detect trace levels of artificial sweeteners in surface water without pre-treatment or enrichment. The ionization method was optimized in accordance to literature, allowing better fragmentation and sensitivity. Within a fast gradient elution of 6 minutes, the limit of detection of the method for ACE, CYC, SAC and ASP was better than 2.5 ng/L.