Analysis of Pesticides in Baby Foods Using a GCMS-TQ8030 GC/MS/MS, Part II

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Courtesy of Shimadzu Scientific Instruments Inc

Contamination of food products with pesticides is a growing concern because of recognized adverse health effects, increasing world-wide usage of pesticides, and increasing imports of raw foodstuffs from foreign sources. The concern is particularly acute for baby foods because of the high vulnerability of babies to health effects from synthetic chemicals such as pesticides.

Gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS) has been used extensively to identify and quantify trace-level pesticides in food matrices; the most significant challenges have been matrix interference and achievement of meaningful health-based detection limits for the compounds of interest. The QuEChERS (Quick Easy Cheap Effective Rugged and Safe) sample preparation method1 has helped to overcome some of the problems of matrix interference, and commercialization of QuEChERS kits has promoted widespread screening of foodstuffs for trace pesticides. But matrix interferences still present a significant challenge for analysis of trace-level pesticides in foods, even after QuEChERS extraction and cleanup.

Triple quadrupole GC/MS/MS has emerged as an important technique for analysis of trace-level contaminants in complex matrices. Operation of the triple quadrupole GC/MS/MS in the Multiple Reaction Monitoring (MRM) mode provides unmatched sensitivity and selectivity for detection and quantitation of target pesticides at low concentrations in the presence of background interferences. Most co-extracted matrix interferences are minimized or completely eliminated using the MRM mode.

This application note presents instrument configuration, operating parameters, and analytical results for analysis of 36 pesticides from various chemical classes in a QuEChERS extract of baby food using the Shimadzu GCMS-TQ8030 triple quadrupole GC/MS/MS. Results were evaluated for calibration linearity, analytical precision, and accuracy in a baby food matrix. Selectivity as a function of variable mass spectral resolution settings on the two sets of quadrupoles, Q1 and Q3, is also discussed.

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