, Volume 404, Issue 1, pp 173-181
Date: 26 May 2012

Pesticides in seaweed: optimization of pressurized liquid extraction and in-cell clean-up and analysis by liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry

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Chemical residues, such as insecticides and anthelmintics, are frequently redistributed from the aquatic environment to marine species. This work reports on a fast validated protocol for the analysis of azamethiphos, three avermectins, two carbamates and two benzoylurea pesticides and chemotherapeutic agents in seaweeds based on pressurized liquid extraction and separation of analytes by liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry. The variables affecting the efficiency of pressurized liquid extraction, including temperature, number of extraction cycles, static extraction time and percent acetonitrile flush volume, were studied using a Doehlert design. The optimum parameters were 100 °C and one cycle of 3 min with 70 % acetonitrile. Adequate in-cell clean-up of the seaweeds was achieved using 0.8 g of Florisil over 0.1 g of graphitized carbon black on the bottom of the cell. The optimized method was validated using an analyte-free seaweed sample fortified at different concentrations. The limits of quantification ranged from 3.6 μg kg−1 (azamethiphos) to 31.5 μg kg−1 (abamectin). The recovery was from 87 to 120 % in most cases at different spiking levels. Finally, the reproducibility of the method expressed as the relative standard deviation and evaluated at concentrations of 10 and 50 μg kg−1 was in the range 9–14.3 % and 6.1–12.3 %, respectively. The applicability of the method was evaluated with five commercial and 12 wild edible seaweeds, and four target compounds were detected in two wild seaweeds at a concentration below the quantification limit.