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Efficiency Evaluation of the Main Multiresidue Methods Used in Europe for the Analysis of Amitraz and its Major Metabolites

C.Ferrer, A. Agüera, M. Mezcua, M. Gamón, D. Mack, M. Anastasiades, A. R. Fernández-Alba



This paper compares the performance of the three most widely employed multiresidue methods quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe [(QuEChERS), mini-luke, and ethyl acetate] currently used for the determination of amitraz residues in fruits. A fast and differentiated analysis of amitraz and its two main metabolites, N-2,4-dimethylphenyl- N-methylformamidine and 2,4-dimethylformanilide, was performed by HPLC-electrospray ionization- MS/MS using a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer in the positive mode. A test of the stability of the standard solutions showed a rapid hydrolysis of amitraz to the amide and amidine derivatives in solutions containing water, including QuEChERS extracts of crops that were previously acidified. Two useful mass transitions were used to confirm the presence of each analyte in the sample extracts.
LOD values ranging from 0.4 to 2.0 mg/kg were obtained. Linearity of response over two orders of magnitude was demonstrated (r2 > 0.999) in solvent and pear extract. The recovery studies were performed on pear blanks spiked at two concentration levels, 50 and 500 mg/kg (n = 5). Best recoveries, ranging from 75-103%, were obtained by the application of the QuEChERS method with CV<8% in all cases. The QuEChERS method was applied to a monitoring study carried out by the Chemical and Veterinary Investigation Office Stuttgart laboratory. From the 63 pear samples analyzed, 21 contained amitraz residues (expressed as sum) ranging from 0.02 to 2.9 mg/kg.
Amitraz parent was detected only in a few cases at very low concentration levels, with N-2,4-dimethylphenyl-N-methylformamidine being the metabolite almost entirely representing the total residue.

These results emphasize that the residue situation is clearly underestimated if only the parent compound is targeted, and they reinforce how important it is to include amitraz in the target scope of pesticide residue laboratories, especially since the concentrations detected exceeded the Acute Reference Dose in the majority of cases and pose a health risk to the consumer.



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Published 30-04-2010, 10:33:58

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