Artificial sweeteners described as intense, low-calorie and non-nutritive are widely used as sugar substitutes in beverages and foods to satisfy consumers' desire to sweet taste while concerning about obesity and diabetes. As synthetic additives in food, the use of artificial sweeteners must be approved by authority for health and safety concerns. For example, Aspartame, Acesulfame-K, Saccharin, Sucralose and Neotame are the FDA approved artificial sweeteners on the US market. However, there are also many other artificial sweeteners allowed to use in EU and many other countries, but not in the US. In this regard, analysis of artificial sweeteners in beverages and foods has become essential due to the relevant regulations in protection of consumers' benefits and safety concerns in many countries. Recently, artificial sweeteners are found as emerging environmental contaminants in surface water and waste water. Initially, HPLC analysis method with ELSD detection was adopted, because many artificial sweeteners are non-UV absorption compounds. Recently, LC/MS/MS methods have been developed and used for identification and quantitation of artificial sweeteners in food and beverages as well as water for its high sensitivity and selectivity.
Here we report a high sensitivity LC/MS/MS method for identification and quantitation of ten artificial sweeteners in beverage samples. An ultra-small injection volume was adopted in this study to develop a very robust LC/MS/MS method suitable for direct injection of beverage samples without any sample pre-treatment except dilution with solvent.