WP4a: Alkaloids

Contaminants in food and feed

CONffIDENCE WP4a: Alkaloids


Development of validated multiplex dipstick tests for the determination of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in honey and feed, tropane alkaloids in feed, and ergot alkaloids in feed and cereals. Also a validated NIR imaging method for the detection of ergot contamination in feed and food will be developed. Simplified sample preparation procedures will be developed.


In WP4a three major groups of alkaloids will be studied, pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA), tropane alkaloids (TA) and ergot alkaloids (EA). For all three groups EFSA scientific opinions have been prepared (EA, TA and PA in feed) or are requested (EA in food). (i) PA are an emerging issue and found in many plant genera, and, consequently in feed, food and herbs. Matrices of primary interest are: honey and feed. (ii) TA are mainly found in feed as contaminants from Datura species; plants producing TA have expanded dramatically in parts of Europe and problems are emerging; (iii) EA – the EFSA opinion on EA in feed shows that there is a lack of data on EA patterns in feed materials and on toxic effects; matrices of interest are feed and cereals. The current limit in the EU is 0.1% for rye ergot in all feedingstuffs. The Commission is preparing regulations for EA in food and feed, and there is a clear need for fast and reliable methods of analysis.

Work Package leader

Dr. Ronald Schothorst ( National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, RIVM, NL)

Ronald Schothorst is deputy head, Section of Natural Toxins and Nitro-compounds (laboratory for Food and Residue Analysis) and project leader of the RIVM project “Nitrosamines and nitrosatables in non-food products”. He was WP leader in FP5 project DONCALIBRANT and coordinator of the SCOOP subtask trichothecenes. He has a long experience in development and validation of screening and confirmatory methods for the detection of contaminants in food and feed.

Work Package deputy leader

Dr. Katrina Campbell (Queen’s University Belfast, QUB, UK)

Katrina Campbell is a research fellow within the Food Safety Group at Queen’s University, Belfast. For the past 8 years her research has been focused towards developing innovative screening methods for the detection of chemical contaminants and toxins in food and feeds for which she has published articles on drug and biotoxin monitoring using biosensor and lateral flow based technologies. This research involved working primarily on multi-centre research projects such as FP5 “Glucocorticoid Analysis” and FP6 “BioCop”.

For further information about the work package 4a , please contact leaderWP4a@conffidence.eu