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Involved Contributor III
Involved Contributor III
shutterstock_270811022When you sit down to lunch do you ever wonder which pesticides, if any, may be present in your food?  Food safety analysts responsible for the control of pesticides in food samples have to ask a similar question. Which pesticides, if any, are in the sample received in the laboratory?

Well, this is a difficult question to answer since different pesticides are used on food crops in different regions of the world and they are traded through complex supply chains on a global basis making it difficult to know which pesticides are likely to be present in any individual sample. According to the report by the European Food Safety Authority  (2014), 381 different compounds were detected during the analysis of 79,000 samples (600 commodities) performed as part of the European official control programs in 2011.

To ensure the safety of the food supply, laboratories are expected to be able to screen, quantitate and identify hundreds of pesticides with diverse physicochemical properties in hundreds of different sample types. There are more than 1500 pesticides listed in the British Crop Protection Council  (BCPC) pesticides manual. Comprehensive analyses of hundreds of thousands of different pesticide-commodity combinations requires the complementary use  of targeted and non-targeted multi-analyte methods together with single residue methods. These methods in turn are based on gas chromatography and liquid chromatography  (including ion chromatography) all coupled to  mass spectrometry detection systems. The challenge for the analyst is to optimize the distribution of the pesticide analytes into the fewest methods while still achieving the best overall performance in terms of accuracy, precision, speed, cost for the analysis and compliance with regulatory requirements.

Whenever you run into these challenges, how do you find a suitable method to analyze the list of pesticides, or particular pesticide, of interest? Well, one option is to consult the online applications library.

Online Applications Library

This tool is available to help you find what you’re looking for: Thermo Scientific AppsLab Library of Analytical Applications, also known as AppsLab Library. This is a continuously growing online application repository, currently holding more than 1800 applications for GC, HPLC, UHPLC, IC, GC-MS, IC-MS, and LC-MS.

Simply search for the word pesticide and around 60 applications are found, or look for all food and beverage applications and you’ll get over 350 hits. From here you can filter results, for example when looking for a specific chromatography technique, or simply search for the specific pesticide you’re looking for.

Now you can go directly from the web to the lab. Once you have identified a suitable method, just download the details and enter them in your chromatography data system.  AppsLab Library provides even more benefits when running Thermo Scientific™ Dionex™ Chromeleon™ Chromatography Data System software. AppsLab Library contains over 300 ready-to-run workflows that can be downloaded directly into Chromeleon CDS, and used to immediately run this method.

Pesticide Analyzer

Let’s take a closer look at how analyzing pesticides using GC-MS works with Chromeleon CDS. This poster shows how NOW Foods analyzes pesticide residues in dried botanical dietary ingredients using a GC-Triple Quadrupole MS.  This includes acquiring data, processing, reviewing and reporting, all from Chromeleon CDS. Check this webpage to find out more about the Pesticide Analyzer.

Additional Resources

For more information on Chromeleon CDS visit the Chromeleon Resource Center.

Take a look at the possibilities of AppsLab Library, including a video showing the entire workflow from searching and finding an application, to execution in Chromeleon CDS in the AppsLab Resource Center, and let us know in the comments if this helps you finding your pesticide applications.

Also visit the pesticide learning center on the Food and Beverage community to get regular updates of new developments.