This is another report of the use of the "Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged, and Safe" (QuEChERS) sample cleanup method followed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry analysis of 236 pesticides in Asian (Panax ginseng) and American (Panax quinquefolius) ginseng roots, ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) leaves, and saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) berries. Spike recovery, matrix effects, and instrument limits of detection studies were performed. A total of 13 pesticides were found in four ginseng matrices with an average of five pesticides in each. The exception was one American ginseng sample that was found to not contain any of the 236 pesticides. The pesticides in ginseng found by researchers represented different pesticide classes, suggesting varied and widespread pesticide use in ginseng production.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
August 29, 2012
“Multiresidue Pesticide Analysis of Dried Botanical Dietary Supplements Using an Automated Dispersive SPE Cleanup for QuEChERS and High-Performance Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry”
An automated dispersive solid phase extraction (dSPE) cleanup procedure as part of the Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged, and Safe (QuEChERS) method, coupled with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry using electrospray ionization in positive mode, was used for the simultaneous analysis of 236 pesticides in three dried powdered botanical dietary supplements (ginseng, saw palmetto, and gingko biloba). The procedure involved extraction of the dried powdered botanical samples with salt-out acetonitrile/water extraction using anhydrous magnesium sulfate and sodium chloride, followed by an automated dSPE cleanup using a mixture of octadodecyl- (C18) and primary-secondary amine (PSA)-linked silica sorbents and anhydrous MgSO4 and online LC-MS/MS analysis. Dynamic multiple-reaction monitoring (DMRM) based on the collection of two precursor-to-product ion transitions with their retention time windows was used for all of the targeted pesticides and the internal standard. Matrix-matched calibration standards were used for quantitation, and standard calibration curves showed linearity (r2 > 0.99) across a concentration range of 0.2-400 ng/mL for the majority of the 236 pesticides evaluated in the three botanical matrices. Mean recoveries (average %RSD, n = 4) were 91 (6), 93 (4), 96 (3), and 99 (3)% for ginseng, 101 (9), 98 (6), 99 (4), and 102 (3)% for gingko biloba, and 100 (9), 98 (6), 96 (4), and 96 (3)% for saw palmetto at fortification concentrations of 25, 100, 250, and 500 μg/kg, respectively. The geometric mean matrix-dependent instrument detection limits were 0.17, 0.09, and 0.14 μg/kg on the basis of the studies of 236 pesticides tested in ginseng roots, gingko biloba leaves, and saw palmetto berries, respectively. The method was used to analyze incurred ginseng samples that contained thermally labile pesticides with a concentration range of 2-200 μg/kg, indicating different classes of pesticides are being applied to these botanicals other than the traditional pesticides that are commonly used and analyzed by gas chromatography techniques. The method demonstrates the use of an automated cleanup procedure and the LC-MS/MS detection of multiple pesticide residues in dried, powdered botanical dietary supplements.