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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Microbial and Chemical Food Safety » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #294364

Title: Analysis of pesticide residues in strawberries and soils by GC-MS/MS, LC-MS/MS and two-dimensional GC-time-of-flight MS comparing organic and integrated pest management farming

item FERNANDEZ, VIRGINIA - Universidade Do Porto
item Lehotay, Steven
item GEIS-ASTEGGIANTE, LUCIA - University Of Maryland
item KWON, HYEYOUNG - National Academy Of Agricultural Science
item MOL, HANS - Rikilt, Institute Of Food Safety
item VAN DER KAMP, HENK - Rikilt, Institute Of Food Safety
item MATEUS, NUNO - Universidade Do Porto
item DELERUE-MATOS, CRISTINA - Universidade Do Porto
item DOMINGUES, VALENTINA - Universidade Do Porto

Submitted to: Food Additives & Contaminants
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/13/2013
Publication Date: 3/19/2014
Publication URL:
Citation: Fernandez, V., Lehotay, S.J., Geis-Asteggiante, L., Kwon, H., Mol, H.G., Van Der Kamp, H., Mateus, N., Delerue-Matos, C., Domingues, V.F. 2014. Analysis of pesticide residues in strawberries and soils by GC-MS/MS, LC-MS/MS and two-dimensional GC-time-of-flight MS comparing organic and integrated pest management farming. Food Control.

Interpretive Summary: Pesticide residues in food are a concern of consumers, academicians, regulators, and food/agricultural companies. One of the most common questions in the public is whether organically-grown foods have fewer and less pesticide residues than conventionally-grown foods. In this study, pesticide residues on strawberries grown in Portugal using organic production practices were compared with those grown using integrated pest management. The organic-grown strawberries contained no residues, and the conventionally-grown strawberries showed low level residues far below regulatory concentration limits. The methods used in the analyses were able to meet detection needs for a wide scope of pesticides, and check that the organic foods do not contain residues.

Technical Abstract: The issue of pesticide residues in foods is growing in importance due to greater global food trade and increasing public concern. Therefore, appropriate control and monitoring of residues in food must be conducted. In this study, we analyzed 22 strawberry and soil samples after their collection over the course of two years to compare the residue profiles from organic farming to integrated pest management practices in Portugal. For sample preparation, we used the citrate-buffered version of the quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe (QuEChERS) method. We applied three different methods for analysis: i) 27 pesticides were targeted using tandem mass spectrometry coupled to liquid chromatography (LC-MS/MS); ii) 143 were targeted using low pressure gas chromatography - tandem mass spectrometry (LP-GC-MS/MS); and iii) countless others were screened in a targeted and untargeted approach using comprehensive, two-dimensional gas chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC×GC-TOF-MS). Comparison was made of the analyses using the different methods for the shared samples. The results were similar, thereby providing satisfactory confirmation of both similarly positive and negative findings. No pesticides were found in the organic-farmed samples. In samples from integrated pest management practices, some applied pesticides were determined and confirmed to be present. Concentrations were higher in soils than in the corresponding strawberries, which were less than European maximum residue limits.