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Improved Accuracy of Pesticide Detection in Food

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AB SCIEX have announced that the European Reference Laboratory for Pesticide Residues in Fruits and Vegetables (EURL-FV) has developed a more sensitive and accurate method for the detection of pesticides residues in food using the Eksigent MicroLC 200 coupled with the AB SCIEX QTRAP® 4500 System. The combination of MicroLC with the QTRAP 4500 in selected reaction monitoring (SRM) mode increases the sensitivity of the technique 30-50-fold, allowing more accurate detection and quantification of pesticides in food.

The EURL-FV is located at the University of Almeria and operates in accordance with international standards. In Europe there are strict regulations (EC No. 396/2005) that state that the maximum pesticide residue levels in foods must be between 0.01-10 mg/kg. Professor Fernandez-Alba’s new method provides lower limits of detection in the region of 1 μg/kg.

Mass spectrometry is considered a fundamental technique in pesticide testing laboratories because of its high throughput and sensitivity. However, interference of food matrices can make accurate detection of pesticide residues by mass spectrometry difficult. Professor Fernandez-Alba’s approach reduces matrix effects by diluting the extracts before LC injection. The use of MicroLC means that the sample can be diluted up to 30 times, allowing the matrix to be diluted away and causing less interference.

“Mass spectrometry instruments have advanced a lot in the last 10 years. We can now correctly identify hundreds of pesticides in a single analysis with much higher sensitivity, meaning we can rapidly detect very low concentrations of pesticides in food,” said Professor Fernandez-Alba. “We have found the Eksigent MicroLC 200 to be very robust with no leaking problems, and the QTRAP 4500 to be a very reliable and sensitive instrument that we use 24 hours a day, all year round.”