Food Analytical Methods

, Volume 10, Issue 9, pp 3158–3165 | Cite as

Determination of 17 Plant Growth Regulator Residues by Ultra-High Performance Liquid Chromatography-Triple Quadrupole Linear Ion Trap Mass Spectrometry Based on Modified QuEChERS Method

  • Shurui Cao
  • Xue Zhou
  • Xianliang LiEmail author
  • Bobin Tang
  • Xiaowen Ding
  • Cunxian Xi
  • Jiangtao Hu
  • Zhiqiong Chen


A new method combining modified QuEChERS (quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe) with ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-triple quadrupole linear ion trap mass spectrometry (UHPLC-QTrap-MS/MS) was developed for simultaneous determination of 17 plant growth regulator (PGR) residues in vegetables. Quantitative data acquisition was accomplished in multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) mode, and qualitative analysis and identification of target compounds was achieved by using linear ion trap scan functions. Qualitative and quantitative analysis can be simultaneously achieved by a pair of ions in UHPLC-QTrap-MS/MS. More importantly, QTrap system can minimize the risk of false positive and negative results. To achieve the optimum performance towards the target analytes, several parameters including the content of formic acid in mobile phase and scanning mode were investigated. In the optimized conditions, 17 PGRs showed good linearity over the range of 2~50 μg/L with correlation coefficients of 0.9902~0.9999. The limits of detections (LODs) were in the range of 0.01~1.32 μg/kg. The recoveries of 17 PGRs ranged from 78.5 to 119.2% with the spiked levels of 1, 2, and 5 μg/kg into homogenized radish, and the relative standard deviations (RSDs) ranged from 0.8 to 14.8%. The method illustrated is suitable for routine quantitative and qualitative analyses of PGRs in vegetable samples.


UHPLC-QTrap-MS/MS PGRs QuEChERS Vegetables 


Compliance with Ethical Standards


This study was funded by “food and agricultural research fund project (No.cstc2013yykfB0165)” and “youth science and technology talents fund project (No.cstc2014kjrc-qnrc00002)” of Chongqing Municipal Science and Technology Commission of the People’s Republic of China.

Conflict of Interest

Shurui Cao declares that she has no conflict of interest. Xue Zhou declares that she has no conflict of interest. Xianliang Li declares that he has no conflict of interest. Bobin Tang declares that he has no conflict of interest. Xiaowen Ding declares that she has no conflict of Interest. Cunxian Xi declares that he has no conflict of interest. Jiangtao Hu declares that he has no conflict of interest. Zhiqiong Chen declares that she has no conflict of Interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shurui Cao
    • 1
  • Xue Zhou
    • 2
  • Xianliang Li
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bobin Tang
    • 1
  • Xiaowen Ding
    • 3
  • Cunxian Xi
    • 1
  • Jiangtao Hu
    • 4
  • Zhiqiong Chen
    • 2
  1. 1.Chongqing Engineering Technology Research Center of Import and Export Food Safety, Chongqing Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine BureauChongqingChina
  2. 2.College of PharmacyChongqing Medical UniversityChongqingChina
  3. 3.College of Food Science and EngineeringSouthwest UniversityChongqingChina
  4. 4.Center of Import and Export Food SafetySichuan Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, Sichuan Engineering Technology ResearchChengduChina

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