Quantification of pesticide residues in garlic and cumin using the Orbitrap Exploris 120 high resolution mass spectrometer
The demand for fast and simple analysis of a large multi-class list of pesticides in various types of food samples is growing every year. All over the world, pesticides are used to control pests that are harmful to crops, humans and animals. These substances can impose a significant health risk and therefore need to be accurately detected at low levels. Government agencies typically set maximum allowable levels of pesticide residues in different plant and animal products at concentrations below parts per billion (ppb or µg/kg). The regulations present significant analytical challenges with respect to quantification levels and the large number of target analytes.
Currently, routine LC methods are typically based on triple quadrupole mass spectrometry. In recent years, Thermo Scientific™ Orbitrap™ mass spectrometers have become available, providing more confidence in compound identification with quantitative capabilities comparable to triple quadrupole MS/MS. The mass accuracy (typically less than 5 ppm) minimizes interference from co-eluting analytes and compounds extracted from the matrix and therefore potentially reduces false-positive and false-negative results. Sample preparation is also a critical part of the workflow. The use of QuEChERS (Cheap, Easy, Fast, Effective, Robust and Safe) methods has been widely adopted for the extraction of pesticide residues from a wide variety of food matrices, including spices. This paper describes the method performance parameters with Orbitrap’s new benchtop instrument, the Orbitrap Exploris 120 mass spectrometer for the quantification of a specific list of pesticides (Table 2) at or below legislative levels (maximum residue levels – MRLs) in cumin and garlic matrices. The optimized method was verified according to SANTE/12682/20191 guidelines and evaluated for compliance with EU MRL requirements.
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