Waters Corp. Publishes Rapid Screening Method for 402 Pesticide Residues in Food
Pesticides analyzed include carbofurans, recently banned by U.S. EPA
Waters Corp. has announced availability of a new application note detailing rapid analysis of 402 pesticides in a single 10-minute run using Waters ACQUITY TQD, liquid chromatography combined with tandem quadrupole mass spectrometry (UPLC/MS/MS) operated in Multiple Reaction Monitoring (MRM) mode and Waters MassLynx Software with IntelliStart technology for data acquisition and MS parameters optimization.
“Publishing this application note provides food safety laboratories faced with challenging multi-residue pesticide analysis with a proven analytical method, not just merely a software capability claim,” said James Willis, managing director, chemical analysis, for Waters Division. “Working in collaboration with customers, Waters scientists continue to address the world’s most pressing food safety issues.”
On July 24, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned the use of carbofurans. The agency wrote, “Due to considerable risks associated with the pesticide carbofuran in food and drinking water, EPA is revoking the regulations that allow carbofuran residues in food. Even though carbofuran is used on a small percentage of the U.S. food supply and therefore the likelihood of exposure through food is low, EPA has identified risks that that do not meet our rigorous food safety standards.”
With well over 1,000 pesticides in use worldwide, multi-residue pesticide analysis is particularly challenging due to the low levels present, the wide variety of pesticides and the very different chemical classes they represent. Pesticides are widely used in the production of foodstuffs to meet consumer demand for plentiful food at reasonable prices all year round. Continued growth in the use of pesticides, poor agricultural practices and illegal use can pose risks to human health through the presence of pesticide and metabolite residues in food products.
Advances in chromatographic separation and detection technologies have enabled analysts to increase the number of analytes determined in a single run. Tandem quadrupole mass spectrometry offers a highly specific and selective detection technique that has become the technique of choice within the laboratory. Many countries have strict regulations governing pesticides covering import, export and domestic produce.
Legislation-imposed Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for pesticide residues in food products require analytical techniques that are sensitive, selective and robust. The need to meet mandated detection limits, develop generic sample preparation techniques for complex matrices, the need for accuracy and the desire to increase sample throughput are the main challenges facing food safety testing laboratories today. The use of a reproducible single multi-residue analytical method can dramatically improve return on investment by removing the guesswork out of pesticide analyses.
The application note, including a complete list of pesticides, can be found on Waters’ website.