Full scan MS in comprehensive qualitative and quantitative residue analysis in food and feed matrices: How much resolving power is required?

  • Markus Kellmann
  • Helmut Muenster
  • Paul Zomer
  • Hans Mol
Focus: The Orbitrap


In LC full scan based MS screening methods correct mass assignment is essential. Parameters affecting the accuracy of mass assignment, i.e., analyte concentration, complexity of the matrix, and resolving power, were studied using typical examples from the field of residue and contaminant analysis in food and feed. The evaluation was carried out by analyzing samples of honey and animal feed, spiked with 151 pesticides, veterinary drugs, mycotoxins, and plant toxins at levels ranging from 10 to 250 ng/g. Analyses were performed using a single stage Orbitrap with resolving power settings varying from 10,000 to 100,000 (FWHM). For consistent and reliable mass assignment (<2 ppm) of analytes at low levels in complex matrices, a high resolving power (≥50,000) was found to be required. At lower resolving power settings, the error in the assignment of mass increased due to the coelution of analytes with interferences at the same nominal mass. This negatively affected selectivity and quantitative performance due to the inability to use the required narrow mass-extraction windows. In the case of the less complex honey matrix, a resolving power of 25,000 was generally sufficient to obtain a mass assignment error close to the typical instrument mass accuracy (≤2 ppm) down to low concentration levels of 10 ng/g.


Mass Accuracy Isoproturon Veterinary Drug Imazalil Pirimicarb 

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© American Society for Mass Spectrometry 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Markus Kellmann
    • 1
  • Helmut Muenster
    • 1
  • Paul Zomer
    • 2
  • Hans Mol
    • 2
  1. 1.Thermo Fisher ScientificBremenGermany
  2. 2.RIKILT Institute of Food SafetyWageningenThe Netherlands

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