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Development and validation of ultra high performance-liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry based methods for the determination of neonicotinoid insecticides in honey

Valverde, Silvia, Ibáñez, María, Bernal, José L., Nozal, María J., Hernández, Félix, Bernal, José
Food chemistry 2018 v.266 pp. 215-222
apiaries, honey, neonicotinoid insecticides, solid phase extraction, sorbents, tandem mass spectrometry, ultra-performance liquid chromatography, Spain
In this study, the feasibility of two sample treatments has been evaluated for the determination of seven neonicotinoid insecticides in honey from different botanical origins using ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC–MS/MS). A solid phase extraction with a polymeric sorbent (Strata® X) is proposed for analyzing dark honeys, while a QuEChERS (quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged and safe) approach is recommended for light honeys. Chromatographic analysis (6 min) was performed on a core-shell column (Kinetex® EVO C18). The proposed methods were fully validated using two different MS/MS systems: quadrupole-time-of-flight and triple quadrupole. The results showed that the best overall analytical performance was achieved using triple quadrupole, mainly due to its better sensitivity and the reduced influence of the matrix onto the analyte signals. The methods developed were applied to the analysis of commercial honey samples from different regions of Spain, as well as from experimental apiaries.