shutterstock_107377949YOUR TASK

Your daily work consists of monitoring hundreds of pesticides in food. You have a generic LC-MS method for the analysis of hundreds of pesticides in a single run. Is your method sufficiently fast? Ok, let’s make a quick calculation…five matrices at five calibration levels, six repetitions each, add the solvent injections, run time 20 minutes …hmmm …in the best scenario, without any system failures, more than two days. You will never meet the deadline!

It is time to move the pressure from your head to the LC column head.


The use of pesticides, already largely employed for crop protection, is expected to increase in the near future, and chemical companies are constantly developing new pesticides.  As a consequence, the number and the diversity in chemical structure of pesticides are exploding.

Analytical laboratories monitoring pesticide residues in food need to analyze and quantify an increasingly large variety of compounds in the shortest time possible.

HPLC coupled to triple stage quadrupole (TSQ) mass spectrometers operating in selected reaction monitoring mode (SRM) are widely used for generic and reliable analytical multi-residue methods for the simultaneous analysis of hundreds of pesticides. With timed SRM, the compounds are monitored only in a specific time range where they are expected to elute, and not during the full chromatographic run. This requires the use of HPLC instrumentations able to provide outstanding retention time precision from run to run and from sample to sample. Is that possible with ultra high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC)?


Labs can significantly increase the throughput without any sacrifice in method robustness or usability with UHPLC systems like the Vanquish Horizon. Vanquish Horizon is the most powerful UHPLC in the world with pressure up to 1500 bar and unique system technologies. Multi-residue pesticides analysis takes 5 minutes. Taking benefit from the significant reduction of the peak widths in UHPLC mode with the ultrafast separation, the timed SRM scan window can be decreased from 30 s to 9 s (see figure below). A decrease of the SRM scan window gave the possibility to increase the numbers of scans for each chromatographic peak, thus achieving maximum sensitivity and reproducibility for accurate quantitation.

Do not worry…run after run and matrix after matrix your peaks will not shift out from the SRM detection window. Vanquish Horizon has a binary pump designed with two motors for each pump head for independent piston movement. This technology, together with the SmartInject function, that brings the sample at the system pressure before the injection, takes the retention time precision to a superior level of confidence. You can rely on each and every result. At the same time the system is really easy to operate, does not require any tool based on fingertight Viper technology, and can be operated by scientists and technicians at all experience levels.

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What do you think about that? Let’s make the calculation again for the analysis of your samples with a run time down to 5 minutes…hmmm, possible? Yes, the complete analysis will take just half day!


Figure. Extracted ion chromatograms of 250 pesticides in strawberry matrix extract applying a gradient length of 15 and 5 min. LC-MS system: Thermo Scientific™ Vanquish Horizon UHPLC with TSQ Endura™ Triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer. Other conditions are described in figure.

You may also be interested in:

Application Note: “Fast and Ultrafast LC-MS/MS Methods for Robust and Reliable Analysis of Pesticides in Food Using the Vanquish UHPLC System” or visit the AppsLab Library page.

Thermo Fisher pesticides learning centre for further resources on the analysis of pesticides

Pesticide Explorer Collection Solution and join the webinar

For more information on fingertight zero dead volume connectors visit the Viper™ page.