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Quantitative determination and removal of pesticide residues in fresh vegetables and fruit products by LC–MS/MS and GC–MS/MS

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Pesticides are the potent agrochemicals used to successfully manage, repel, or stop pests and weeds in agricultural production. This study analyzed 222 pesticide active substances in 90 samples of seven different vegetables and fruits acquired from producers through liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry (GC–MS/MS) technology. The validation parameters of each pesticide’s active substances were determined. The LOD, LOQ values, and recovery studies of the 222 active substances were 3.00, 10.00 ng/g, and between 76.07 and 108.08%, respectively. The correlation coefficients and measurement uncertainty were determined to be between 0.990–0.999 and 8.91–31.46%, respectively. There were active substances of chlorpyrifos, acetamiprid, azoxystrobin, difenoconazole, malathion, dieldrin, boscalid, triticonazole, tebuconazole, triadimenol, trifloxystrobin, pirimicarb, and dodine among the vegetable and fruit samples used in the study. There were no active substances in 55 (61%) samples. Among the 35 samples (39%), 31 samples (34%) contained only one active substance, whereas four (5%) contained two active substances. However, the amount of active substances in six (7%) samples was above the maximum residue levels (MRL) limits. Various processes used in the study revealed that peeling was the most effective pesticide residue removal strategy. The washing procedure also proved that it reduced some pesticide residues but failed to eliminate all pesticides. The peeling process successfully reduced a significant amount of the active substances from the products, however, residues remained. Washing the fruits with hot water was also effective in removing residues. As a result, analyses of the peeled sections yielded higher pesticide residue concentrations than those of the entire product.

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We want to acknowledge the support from Dicle University Research Scientific Projects Fund to conduct the research. Thanks to Dicle University Research Scientific Projects Fund for supporting this review (grant number FEN.16.004).


This study was supported by the Dicle University Research Scientific Projects Fund (No. FEN.16.004).

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Authors and Affiliations



Ayhan Elmastas: pesticide investigation, formal analysis, data collection, and the original draft preparation. Adil Umaz: methodology and writing — original draft writing and language editing. Vedat Pirinc: sample collection, conceptualization, reviewing, and supervision. Firat Aydin: conceptualization, methodology, supervising, reviewing, and editing.

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Correspondence to Adil Umaz.

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Elmastas, A., Umaz, A., Pirinc, V. et al. Quantitative determination and removal of pesticide residues in fresh vegetables and fruit products by LC–MS/MS and GC–MS/MS. Environ Monit Assess 195, 277 (2023).

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