Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 407, Issue 24, pp 7379–7389 | Cite as

Spatially resolved investigation of systemic and contact pesticides in plant material by desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry imaging (DESI-MSI)

  • Stefanie Gerbig
  • Hubertus E. Brunn
  • Bernhard Spengler
  • Sabine SchulzEmail author
Research Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Mass Spectrometry Imaging


Distribution of pesticides both on the surface of leaves and in cross sections of plant stem and leaves was investigated using desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry imaging (DESI-MSI) with a spatial resolution of 50–100 μm. Two commercially available insecticide sprays containing different contact pesticides were applied onto leaves of Cotoneaster horizontalis, and the distributions of all active ingredients were directly analyzed. The first spray contained pyrethrins and rapeseed oil, both known as natural insecticides. Each component showed an inhomogeneous spreading throughout the leaf, based on substance polarity and solubility. The second spray contained the synthetic insecticides imidacloprid and methiocarb. Imidacloprid accumulated on the border of the leaf, while methiocarb was distributed more homogenously. In order to investigate the incorporation of a systemically acting pesticide into Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, a commercially available insecticide tablet containing dimethoate was spiked to the soil of the plant. Cross sections of the stem and leaf were obtained 25 and 60 days after application. Dimethoate was mainly detected in the transport system of the plant after 25 days, while it was found to be homogenously distributed in a leaf section after 60 days.


Imaging mass spectrometry Pesticides In situ analysis Ambient ionization Desorption electrospray ionization 



Financial support by the State of Hesse (LOEWE Research Focus ‘Ambiprobe’) and by the Justus Liebig University (research grant for junior academic staff) is gratefully acknowledged.

Supplementary material

216_2015_8900_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (4.6 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 4717 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefanie Gerbig
    • 1
  • Hubertus E. Brunn
    • 2
  • Bernhard Spengler
    • 1
  • Sabine Schulz
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Inorganic and Analytical ChemistryJustus Liebig UniversityGiessenGermany
  2. 2.Landesbetrieb Hessisches LandeslaborGiessenGermany

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