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Liquid chromatography versus supercritical fluid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry: a comparative study of performance for multiresidue analysis of pesticides

Víctor Cutillas, Carmen Ferrer and Amadeo Rodríguez Fernandez-Alba 

European Union Reference Laboratory for Pesticide Residues in Fruits & Vegetables, University of Almeria, Agrifood Campus of International Excellence (ceiA3) Department of Hydrogeology and Analytical Chemistry, Ctra. Sacramento S/N, La Cañada de San Urbano, 04120, Almería, Spain.


Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (2021) 413:5849–5857



Abundant studies have been published evaluating different parameters of reverse-phase liquid chromatography (LC) and supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC), both coupled to electrospray (ESI)/mass spectrometry (MS) for pesticide residue analysis. However, there is a lack of a comprehensive comparative study that facilitates deep knowledge about the benefits of using each technique. In the present study, the same mass spectrometer was used coupled to both liquid and supercritical fluid chromatographies with a multiresidue method of 215 compounds, for the analysis of pesticide residues in food samples. Through the injection of the spiked extracts, separate experiments were conducted. A study of the optimum ion source temperature using the different chromatography modes was performed. The results were evaluated in terms of sensitivity with tomato, leek, onion, and orange as representative fruit and vegetable matrices. The compounds which reported the highest area values in each chromatography were evaluated through their substance groups and polarity values. The impact of matrix effects obtained in tomato matrix was similar for both cases; however, SFC clearly showed better results in analyzing matrices with a higher number of natural co-extracted compounds. This can be explained by the combination of two effects: (i) chromatography separation and (ii) ion source efficiency. The chromatographic elution presented different profiles of matrix components, which had diverse impact on the coelution with the analytes, being more beneficial when SFC was used in the matrices studied. The data showed that the best results obtained in SFC are also related to a higher ionization efficiency even when the ESI emitter tip was not optimized for SFC flow. In the present study a comprehensive evaluation of the benefits and drawbacks of these chromatography modes for routine pesticide residue analysis related to target compounds/commodities is provided. 


© 2021, The Author(s). 



If you want to obtain the full text document, please contact with us:

Carmen Ferrer: cferrer@ual.es (+34) 950 014 102

Octavio Malato: omalato@ual.es (+34) 950 214 423


Last modified 13-06-2022, 15:03:30

Published 13-06-2022, 14:13:29


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