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A LC-MS/MS method with electrospray ionization and atmospheric pressure chemical ionization source for analysis of pesticides in hemp

  • Dalmia, Avinash1
  • Cudjoe, Erasmus2
  • Jalali, Jacob1
  • Qin, Feng2
  • 1 Perkin Elmer, Inc., 710 Bridgeport Ave., Shelton, CT, 06484, USA , Shelton (United States)
  • 2 Perkin Elmer, Inc., Woodbridge, ON, L4L 8H1, Canada , Woodbridge (Canada)
Published Article
Journal of Cannabis Research
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Dec 13, 2021
DOI: 10.1186/s42238-021-00106-9
Springer Nature
  • Agriculture and plant biology


BackgroundPesticide testing for hemp has traditionally focused on techniques like QuEChERS with dSPE and SPE which demand time-consuming sample preparation, typically resulting in poor recovery rates for some pesticides, and requires the use of both LC-MS/MS and GC-MS/MS based instruments to cover the analysis for all regulated pesticides. In this study, we describe a streamlined approach for working with LC-MS/MS featuring a dual electrospray ionization (ESI) and atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) sources using solvent extraction for faster and easier sample preparation and with 80–120% recovery for the analysis of all of 66 pesticides (regulated by California state in cannabis) with low detection limits in hemp.MethodsA simple solvent extraction with acetonitrile was used to extract pesticides from hemp. A LC-MS/MS system with dual ESI and APCI source was used to determine sensitivity for the analysis of 66 pesticides in hemp matrix, 62 pesticides were analyzed using an 18-min LC-MS/MS method with an ESI source and the other 4 pesticides were measured using a 6-min LC-MS/MS method with an APCI source.ResultsThe limit of quantitation (LOQ) of all 66 pesticides in hemp was in the range of 0.0025–0.1 μg/g which was well below the California state action limits of these analytes in cannabis products. A simple, fast, and cost-effective solvent extraction method was used for sample preparation to get good recovery in the range of 80–120% with RSD less than 20%. The unique ionization mechanism of chlorinated pesticides such as pentachloronitrobenzene using the LC-MS/MS system with an APCI source was elucidated. The proficiency test report generated with the LC-MS/MS method showed acceptable results for all of 66 pesticides in hemp with all of th z scores less than 2 with no false positives and negatives. The stability data collected over 5 days showed RSD less than 20% for 66 pesticides in hemp, and this demonstrated the robustness of the LC-MS/MS system used in this work.ConclusionsA LC-MS/MS method with dual ESI and APCI sources was developed for the analysis of 66 pesticides in hemp. The recovery of all pesticides from a hemp matrix was in the acceptable range of 80–120% with RSD less than 20%.

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