Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

The advanced analysis of pesticides using fast GC-Time of Flight MS - PS2531

This proposal is for the development and validation of a fast and accurate method, using state-of-the-art technology in the form of a Fast Gas Chromatograph with Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (GC-TOFMS) for the simultaneous detection and determination of over 300 pesticide residues in foods. FAST-GC_TOFMS will firstly be validated using current technology for the extraction of pesticides from foodstuffs. When this has been successfully completed, QuEChERS* techniques will be used combined with FAST-GC_TOFMS and validation undertaken. QuEChERS is a rapid and simple extraction technique involving minimal sample clean-up. Also an assessment will be made as to whether a new representative analyte approach could be used for quality control in this methodology.

Instrument analysis times will be significantly reduced (potentially by a factor of 4) to enable larger batches of samples to be examined, thus increasing overall value for money of analysis.

Sample chromatograms and the mass spectral database can be revisited in subsequent months or years for retrospective analysis allowing searches to be made for compounds not initially targeted.

Full mass spectral chromatograms are produced that will enable compounds to be clearly identified to provide robust evidence for residue confirmations that would withstand legal challenge.

There is a strong potential for sample analysis costs to be reduced by 20%, and perhaps more in some instances, with a concomitant increase in the amount of analytical data collected. This would enable the UK to produce more residue data without an increase in surveillance cost and a greater number of samples will be analysed for a greater number of potential pesticide residues.

* Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged and Safe Method
Objective/Milestone 1 - Completed end of month 3
To develop a rapid and accurate Fast GC-TOFMS method for use in the current PRC surveillance programme. This will focus on the pesticides amenable to gas chromatography from the current multi-residue pesticide list of 200 compounds.

Objective/Milestone 2 - Completed end of month 6
To expand the method developed in Objective 1 to produce a procedure that will enable the simultaneous detection of more than 300 pesticide residues in foods.

Objective/Milestone 3 - Completed end of month 7
Determine the applicability of reduced AQC procedures to GC-TOFMS and use a representative analytes approach to analyse the greater number of pesticide residues.

Objective/Milestone 4 - Completed end of month 7
To produce an interim report to PSD on outputs from Objectives 1-3.

Objective/Milestone 5 - Completed end of month 10
To determine the applicability of combining Fast GC-TOFMS method from Objective 2 with QuEChERS, a rapid and simple extraction technique with minimal sample clean-up.

Objective/Milestone 6 - Completed end of month 11
Determine the applicability of reduced AQC procedures to QuEChERS again using a representative analytes approach, as in Objective 3.

Objective/Milestone 7 - Completed end of month 12
To produce a full report to PSD detailing all the results and conclusions of the project the suitable for external peer reviewed publication.

Project Documents
• Final Report : Advanced Analysis of Pesticides Using FastGC-Time of Flight MS   (8367k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2007

To: 2008

Cost: £62,348
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Analytical Chemistry              
Food Safety              
Method Development              
Pesticide Residues              
Public Health              
Residues Testing              
Fields of Study
Pesticide Safety