Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 410, Issue 8, pp 2241–2251 | Cite as

Inexpensive, effective novel activated carbon fibers for sample cleanup: application to multipesticide residue analysis in food commodities using a QuEChERS method

  • Shiv Singh
  • Anshuman Srivastava
  • Sheelendra Pratap Singh
Research Paper


Phenolic resin based activated carbon fibers (ACFs) were applied for the first time as a reversed-dispersive solid-phase extraction (r-DSPE) sorbent. A modified quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe (QuEChERS) method was applied to determine 26 pesticides (organophosphates, organochlorines, synthetic pyrethroids, and herbicides) in different complex matrices, including cauliflower, cucumber, banana, apple, wheat, and black gram. Different physicochemical characterization techniques were used to investigate the engineering and structural properties of the r-DSPE sorbent. All the chromatographic analyses were performed with a gas chromatograph equipped with an electron capture detector. The recoveries of all 26 pesticides were acceptable (70–120%), with relative standard deviations of less than 15%. The limit of detection and the limit of quantification were 1.13–5.48 ng/g and 3.42–16.60 ng/g, respectively. In the original QuEChERS method, primary secondary amine is extensively used as the r-DSPE sorbent in the cleanup process, but it is eightfold more expensive than the ACFs used in this study. Therefore, the modified QuEChERS method using ACFs during the cleanup process is more efficient, cheaper, and more robust to determine pesticides from different types of matrices, including vegetables, grains, and fruits, and ACFs could be used as a cost-effective alternative to primary secondary amine.

Graphical Abstract

Sample clean-up using PSA and ACF as r-DSPE sorbent in QuEChERS method


QuEChERS Reversed-dispersive solid-phase extraction Activated carbon fibers Primary secondary amine Pesticides Sample preparation 



The authors are grateful for the support of the Department of Science and Technology (New Delhi, India) in the form of research grants (DST/INSPIRE/04/2015/001869 and GAP-306) for this research work. The authors are also obliged to CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (CSIR-IITR) for providing necessary infrastructural facilities. The authors appreciatively acknowledge Gun Ei Chemical Industry Co. Ltd (Japan) for supplying the activated carbon fibers. The CSIR-IITR communication number for this article is 3459.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

216_2018_894_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (474 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 473 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nanomaterial Toxicology GroupCSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (CSIR-IITR)LucknowIndia
  2. 2.Pesticide Toxicology Laboratory, Regulatory Toxicology and Nanomaterial Toxicology GroupCSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (CSIR-IITR)LucknowIndia
  3. 3.Analytical Chemistry Laboratory, Regulatory Toxicology and Nanomaterial Toxicology GroupCSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (CSIR-IITR)LucknowIndia

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