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Assessment of pesticide residues in honey samples from Portugal and Spain

Blasco, C., Fernandez, M., Pena, A., Lino, C., Silveira, M.I., Font, G., Pico, Y.
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2003 v.51 no.27 pp. 8132-8138
honey, food contamination, organochlorine pesticides, carbamate pesticides, organophosphorus pesticides, pesticide residues, multiresidue analysis, solid phase extraction, gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, liquid chromatography, Spain, Portugal
Fifty samples of honey collected from local markets of Portugal and Spain during year 2002 were analyzed for 42 organochlorine, carbamate, and organophosphorus pesticide residues. An analytical procedure based on solid-phase extraction with octadecyl sorbent followed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), for organochlorines, and by liquid chromatography-atmospheric pressure chemical ionization-mass spectrometry (LC-APCI-MS), for organophosphorus and carbamates, has been developed. Recoveries of spiked samples ranged from 73 to 98%, except for dimethoate (40%), with relative standard deviations from 3 to16% in terms of repeatability, and from 6 to 19% in terms of reproducibility. Limits of quantification were from 0.003 to 0.1 mg kg-1. Most of the pesticides found in honey were organochlorines. Among them, γ-HCH was the most frequently detected in 50% of the samples, followed by HCB in 32% of the samples and the other isomers of HCH (-HCH and -HCH) in 28 and 26% of the samples, respectively. Residues of DDT and their metabolites were detected in 20% of the samples. Of the studied carbamates, both methiocarb and carbofuran were detected in 10% of the samples, pirimicarb in 4% and carbaryl in 2%. The only organophosphorus pesticides found were heptenophos in 16%, methidathion in 4%, and parathion methyl in 2% of honey samples. Results indicate that Portuguese honeys were more contaminated than Spanish ones. However, honey consumers of both countries should not be concerned about the amounts of pesticide residues found in honeys available on the market.