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Improved efficiency of ion trapping time-of-flight mass spectrometry for the analysis of pesticide residues and mycotoxins at trace levels in baby food

Lorena Manzano-Sánchez, Francisco José Díaz-Galiano, José Antonio Maríínez, Carmen Ferrer, 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.

Talanta 278 (2024) 126448




The analysis of pesticide residues and mycotoxins in baby food demands exceptionally low limits of quantitation, necessitating the use of highly sensitive instruments capable of conducting trace analyses. High-resolution instruments typically fail to detect such low levels. However, the latest advancements in liquid time-of-flight technology, when coupled with ion trapping, enable ion enrichment, thereby improving detection levels. This allows for the analysis of these substances at low concentration levels, benefiting from enhanced mass accuracy. Additionally, the use of mass accuracy data helped eliminate matrix interferences, thereby enabling high-confidence identification. We developed a multi-residue method to analyse 219 pesticide residues and 9 mycotoxin residues in baby food matrices. Utilizing a QuEChERS-based extraction method, the samples were then analysed using an LC-Zeno® trap QTOF with mass window screening acquisition. For pesticides, the limit of quantitation was 0.001–0.003 mg/kg for 81 % of the evaluated compounds, 0.005 mg/kg for 13 %, 0.010 mg/kg for 4 % and 0.020–0.030 for 2 %; good linearities were obtained at these levels. Apparent recoveries were evaluated at 0.003, 0.005, and 0.010 mg/kg. At the lowest recovery level, 93 % of compounds showed recoveries between 70 and 120 %. The rest of the compounds were in the range of 63–129 %, with relative standard deviation values below 20 %. For mycotoxins, the limits of quantitation ranged from 0.0001 to 0.100 mg/kg, with matrix-matched concentrations assessed within this range. Recoveries were evaluated at low concentration range (0.001–0.003 mg/kg) and high range (0.020–0.050) with apparent recoveries values between 92 and 140 %. Finally, a total of 31 commercial baby food samples were analysed using this method. The results indicated that 16 samples contained pesticide residues, while two samples were found to have mycotoxins.


0039-9140/© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license

Under a Creative Commons License


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

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



Published 10-07-2024, 12:46:55


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