Optimization and evaluation of low-pressure gas chromatography-mass spectrometry for the fast analysis of multiple pesticide residues in a food commodity.

Institute of Chemical Technology, Prague, Czech Republic.
Journal of Chromatography A (Impact Factor: 4.26). 09/2001; 926(2):291-308. DOI: 10.1016/S0021-9673(01)01054-8
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A fast method of analysis for 20 representative pesticides was developed using low-pressure gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (LP-GC-MS). No special techniques for injection or detection with a common quadrupole GC-MS instrument were required to use this approach. The LP-GC-MS approach used an analytical column of 10 m x 0.53 mm I.D., 1 microm film thickness coupled with a 3 m x 0.15 mm I.D. restriction capillary at the inlet end. Thus, the conditions at the injector were similar to conventional GC methods, but sub-atmospheric pressure conditions occurred throughout the analytical column (MS provided the vacuum source). Optimal LP-GC-MS conditions were determined which achieved the fastest separation with the highest signal/noise ratio in MS detection (selected ion monitoring mode). Due to faster flow-rate, thicker film, and low pressure in the analytical column, this distinctive approach provided several benefits in the analysis of the representative pesticides versus a conventional GC-MS method, which included: (i) threefold gain in the speed of chromatographic analysis; (ii) substantially increased injection volume capacity in toluene; (iii) heightened peaks with 2 s peak widths for normal MS operation; (iv) reduced thermal degradation of thermally labile analytes, such as carbamates; and (v) due to larger sample loadability lower detection limits for compounds not limited by matrix interferences. The optimized LP-GC-MS conditions were evaluated in ruggedness testing experiments involving repetitive analyses of the 20 diverse pesticides fortified in a representative food extract (carrot), and the results were compared with the conventional GC-MS approach. The matrix interferences for the quantitation ions were worse for a few pesticides (acephate, methiocarb, dimethoate, and thiabendazole) in LP-GC-MS, but similar or better results were achieved for the 16 other analytes, and sample throughput was more than doubled with the approach.

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