Ethylene oxide or oxirane is a colorless, flammable gas. As a highly strained cyclic compound, it readily reacts with various chemical compounds (water, salt, etc.). These reactions are used to make many useful industrial chemicals (solvents, detergents, plastics, etc.). It is used as a surface sterilizer in hospitals to sterilize surgical instruments (instead of steam), as well as a contact fungicide to sterilize food (e.g. sesame seeds).
Unfortunately, it has, among other things, carcinogenic, mutagenic, irritant and anesthetic properties. This makes it necessary to detect it in food, as well as in other products, in order to exclude those that include a very low limit, that of 0.05mg / kg.
A batch of sesame seeds with large exceedances of safety limits was detected through the European Union's RASFF safety alert system. Since then, there has been an intense investigation into further cases across Europe by public and private agencies.
The best method for the determination of ethylene oxide involves a complex mechanical and chemical preparation, as well as the use of highly advanced analytical chromatographic and spectrometric equipment (GC-MS / MS).
THE Modern Analytics is the first laboratory in Greece to develop in-house know-how and validate a method for the analysis of ethylene oxide to give reliable results in a very short time.