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Analysis of Pesticides in Honey using Triple-Quadrupole GC-MSMS

Introduction

The introduction of pesticides to improve agricultural productivity has led to significant changes in how crops are grown. However, heavy pesticide use has also had some unintended consequences, including to a number of health issues that can have severe consequences for both humans and the environment in general. One particular area of concern is the effect of pesticides on pollinators, such as honeybees. Research suggests that pesticides are adversely affecting honeybee populations and contributing to colony collapse disorder. Honeybees and other pollinators are also an important part of the global economy. According to the American Beekeeping Federation, honeybees contribute approximately $20 billion to crop production in the USA alone. With these concerns in mind, regulatory agencies all over the world have placed restrictions on the types and levels of pesticides that can be used for agriculture to not only address health concerns for humans, but also for pollinators. In order to  monitor pesticide uptake by honeybees, honey should be tested regularly for pesticide content.

Triple-quadrupole gas chromatograph tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) is widely used for pesticide analysis due to the sensitivity and specificity of the technique. In particular, the specificity offered by GC-MS/MS is excellent for handling the analysis of samples with complex matrices like honey. In this app note, we demonstrate the ability of the JMS-TQ4000GC to measure the pesticide content of honey samples purchased from local grocers and apiaries. The high sensitivity and specificity offered by selected reaction monitoring (SRM) will be used against a complex honey extract matrix, including matrixmatched

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