Controlling pesticide contamination in our food

Controlling pesticide contamination in our food

Agilent's LC/MS and GC/MS instruments accurately analyze pesticide residues in foods

Pesticides present a challenge: they are toxic, but we need them. They help farmers produce more food for a growing global population, but there is concern that the plants we eat are contaminated. There is also concern that pesticides can get into meats, as a result of using those same plants to feed our animals.

The key is to make sure that pesticides are used responsibly and within established limits.

Governments around the world regulate the use of more than 1,000 substances. But enforcing these regulations can be challenging, especially as our supply chain becomes increasingly global.

This is where technology and solutions from Agilent play a critical role.

Ian Ellis, Professor of Cancer Pathology, Nottingham University, talks about the UK's new imminent HER2 testing guidelines as part of the Agilent-sponsored ECP 2014 "Current Challenges in Breast Cancer Diagnostics" Symposium.New technology such as the Agilent Q-TOF performs comprehensive screening for target and non-target compounds.

New technologies from Agilent increase coverage

Over the past 25 years, multi-residue methods based on LC/MS and GC/MS working together have dramatically increased the number of pesticides that can be detected in a single extract.

But detecting and quantifying larger numbers of compounds is only part of the challenge. Just as important is how quickly and efficiently you can do it. Increasing speed and efficiency means that labs have more time and money to run more samples and therefore mitigate more risk.

For GC/MS, Agilent has long offered dedicated pesticide analyzers based on single-quad and triple-quad mass specs. Agilent also offers Q-TOF GC/MS, which can provide high-resolution accurate mass spectra throughout the course of the chromatographic separation of a food extract. This data can be used to search for any potential pesticide using Agilent’s extensive accurate mass EI libraries, which also serve to confidently verify the identity of detections. Labs can therefore expand the scope of their analyses without having to routinely run all the standards.

For LC/MS, Agilent also offers mid- and high-end mass spectrometers combined with the power of the Agilent 1290 Infinity II UHPLC.

Agilent's LC/MS and GC/MS instruments accurately analyze pesticide residues in foods Agilent collaborates with leading institutions such as Covance Labs to develop tools and methods that help safeguard the global food chain.

Agilent’s triple quadrupole LC/MS systems enable labs to drive large searches of hundreds of compounds and spectrally verify the results where necessary. The capabilities of our high-end triple-quad system were recently highlighted in this customer video. Agilent’s mid-range instrument is also well proven for multi-residue pesticide analysis. And our Q-TOF LC/MS systems (once again available with extensive spectral libraries) offer the same additional scope as our Q-TOF GC/MS.

Agilent also offers techniques to remove more of the co-extractives that can occur in some challenging food matrices. These can compromise pesticide analysis and contaminate the mass spec over time, increasing maintenance and associated downtime. For example, our new Enhanced Matrix Removal — Lipid technology incorporates an innovative sorbent that fits neatly into a QuEChERS workflow to effectively remove lipid co-extractives from high-fat foods, without compromising the recovery of target compounds. As a result, labs can perform more selective and reliable analyses, and reduce instrument maintenance.

Agilent works with you to make your pesticide lab more efficient. Together, we create fewer places where irresponsible players in the food-supply system can hide.

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Today's food and agriculture industry faces ever-increasing expectation for testing that is more sensitive, has  more scope, and is more productive and flexible.

Agilent leads the industry with products and services to help you realize these goals, so you can deliver on what your customers expect and what regulatory bodies demand.

Our instruments, systems, and supplies are used for high-throughput food safety surveillance and throughout the food production chain.  Our solutions include incoming inspection, new product development, quality control and assurance, and packaging.