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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Simultaneous determination of methylcarbamate and ethylcarbamate in fermented foods and beverages by derivatization and GC-MS analysis

Ho-Sang Shin1* and Eun-Young Yang2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Environmental Education, Kongju, 314-701, Republic of Korea

2 Department of Environmental Science, Kongju National University, Kongju, 314-701, Republic of Korea

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Chemistry Central Journal 2012, 6:157  doi:10.1186/1752-153X-6-157

Published: 13 December 2012



Methylcarbamate (MC) and ethylcarbamate (EC) are toxic compounds that commonly exist in fermented food and beverages. In order to estimate the risk for their exposure, a sensitive simultaneous analytical method is required


A simultaneous determination of MC and EC was described based on derivatization with 9-xanthydrol and consecutive detection using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. The derivatization of MC and EC was performed directly in food or beverages and the reaction conditions were established through changing various parameters. The detection and the quantification limits were 0.01-0.03 μg/kg and 0.03-0.1 μg/kg, respectively, and the interday relative standard deviation was less than 12% at concentrations of 2.0 and 50 μg/kg. MC and EC were measured from 0.4 μg/kg to 85.8 μg/kg in sixteen Korean fermented foods and eleven beverages.


A simple, sensitive method to detect MC and EC in several solid foods and liquid foods was developed based on derivatization with 9-xanthydrol for 10 min at an ambient temperature. The method may useful for routine analysis of MC and EC in numerous food samples.

Methylcarbamate; Ethylcarbamate; Fermented food; Beverages; GC-MS