QuEChERS technology has only been available for several years, but it has brought innovations in areas such as multi-residue analysis and multi-class pesticide analysis. Columnist Ron Majors interviewed the inventors of QuEChERS, Michelangelo Anastassiades and Steve Lehotay, to discuss their achievements, challenges, and future directions in the ever-changing sample processing technology.
How to perform trace analysis and sample preparation on increasingly complex sample matrices has become a major challenge in the industry. Nowadays, in order to meet the growing needs of the world’s population, food production has been greatly improved, which has led to the use of a variety of toxic pesticides. The application of pesticides sometimes appears to be “next to miss, can’t be let go”. Even if the agricultural products themselves are not needed, they will be cast. Therefore, for the trace detection of these pesticides, the testing workers must continuously improve their testing techniques. Therefore, the pesticide residue analysis method for many types of pesticides has been paid attention to, especially during the period when pollution incidents frequently occur in our food supply.
Traditional sample processing techniques have undergone several stages of liquid-solid extraction, liquid-liquid extraction, and solid-phase extraction. In 2003, based on the experience of these extractions, FDA chemists invented a method to effectively separate trace amounts of pesticide residues in various fruits and vegetables. With the high sensitivity and selectivity of liquid and temperament, QuEChERS (quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged and safe, see the figure below) has been greatly developed. The solid sample in the aqueous solution is salted and then extracted with acetonitrile, followed by liquid-solid extraction (ie, dispersion matrix extraction) to remove most of the interfering substances present in the acetonitrile, and the extract can be directly subjected to mass spectrometry.
Now QuEChERS has become the standard sample processing method for detecting pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables worldwide. In addition, its application involves more and more different fields, such as meat, blood samples, wine, and even soil antibiotics, drugs, drugs of abuse, and other pollution detection.