Controlling pesticide contamination in our food
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.
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 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.
Find out more:
- Pesticide Monitoring and Analysis in Global Food Supply Chains
- Agilent Gas Chromatography
- Agilent Liquid Chromatography
- Agilent Mass Spectrometry
- Agilent Enhanced Matrix Removal — Lipid
- Video: Professor Jana Hajslova, University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague
- Video: Amadeo Fernandez-Alba, Ph.D., European Union Reference Laboratory
- Video: Prof. Dr. Peter Fürst, Chemical and Veterinary Analytical Institute
- Video: Kate Mastovska, Ph.D., Covance Laboratories