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Identification and quantification of oligomers as potential migrants in plastics food contact materials with a focus in polycondensates - A review

: Hoppe, Maria; Voogt, P. de; Franz, Roland


Trends in food science and technology 50 (2016), pp.118-130
ISSN: 0924-2244
ISSN: 1879-3053
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IVV ()

Over the last years the variety of food and beverage packaging has increased with the development of new plastic materials and (co)polymer modifications. Oligomers which are always present in polymers evoke attention as potential migrants, from a qualitatively and quantitatively viewpoint.
Scope and approach
This article deals with oligomers as potential migrants from plastics food contact materials and reviews their occurrence as well as analytical methods for their identification and quantification. Additionally a section about migration summarizes literature providing oligomer levels in food simulants and foods. Special attention was given to polycondensates since these represent a rapidly expanding polymer field due to increased numbers of (co)-monomers authorized by the EU.
Key findings and conclusions
Evaluating a polymer regarding the content and migration potential of its oligomers several factors like the separation of oligomers from the material, the choice of suitable separation and detection techniques for identification and quantification and the choice of an appropriate standard have to be considered. Generally, MS technologies coupled to liquid chromatography have been shown to represent the analytical approach of choice. This is, so far as the authors are aware of, the first review exclusively focusing on analytical methods for oligomers as polymer specific substances, which suggests to consider them as a separate polymer related and polymer type specific group besides the so-called non-intentionally added substances (NIAS).