, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 189–195

Use of High-Performance Liquid Chromatography–UV and Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry for Determination of the Imidacloprid Content of Honeybees, Pollen, Paper Filters, Grass, and Flowers


  • S. Rossi
    • Istituto Nazionale di Apicoltura
  • A. G. Sabatini
    • Istituto Nazionale di Apicoltura
  • R. Cenciarini
    • Centro Studi Ambientali
  • S. Ghini
    • Istituto di Scienze ChimicheUniversity of Bologna
    • Istituto di Scienze ChimicheUniversity of Bologna

DOI: 10.1365/s10337-004-0474-7

Cite this article as:
Rossi, S., Sabatini, A., Cenciarini, R. et al. Chroma (2005) 61: 189. doi:10.1365/s10337-004-0474-7


Imidacloprid is a new insecticide with a wide range of action. Because honeybees are very sensitive to this substance, two techniques (HPLC–UV and GC–MS) which enable its detection in several matrices of both animal and vegetable origin were used to monitor its possible presence in cultivated land. In the first method quantification of imidacloprid in honeybees was achieved by use of the external standard method; the detection limit was 50 mg kg−1, the linear range 0.05–1 mg mL−1, recovery 60–83%, and the imprecision (coefficient of variation) 8.6% for repeatability and 11.8% for reproducibility. Recovery from pollen was 71–98% in the range 0.05–0.5 mg kg−1. The repeatability was 9.2–13.9%. Imidacloprid can often be found in the environment, not as a simple molecule but as a group of degradation products. The GC–MS method could be used to quantify all these species as oxidation products and to determine the initial quantity of imidacloprid by use of a conversion factor. The liquid chromatographic analysis could be used to detect, in a standard solution, 10 ng mL−1 derivatized 6-chloronicotinic acid. The linearity was good (R=0.999) over a wide concentration range (10 μg mL−1–10 ng mL−1). Several samples with different matrices (filter paper placed on an pneumatic corn seed drill, grass, flowers, honeybees, etc.) obtained during the sowing period for imidacloprid-treated corn were analyzed. The quantification limit (LOQ) was 0.005 mg kg−1 for grass and flowers, 0.002 mg kg−1 for honeybees, and 0.024 mg kg−1 for paper filters.


Column liquid chromatography–UVGas chromatography–mass spectrometry6-Chloronicotinic acidImidaclopridHoneybees

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© Friedr. Vieweg&Sohn/GWV Fachverlage GmbH 2004