The Rapid Extraction of Pesticides from Cucumber, Tomato, and Green Pepper

Download File


Pesticide testing is crucial to assessing the safety of fruits and vegetables for consumption. The traditional extraction method for pesticides from produce is the QuEChERS method. This method is tedious, manual, time consuming, and wasteful. Thus, there is a need for improved methods of extraction. In this application note, the EDGE®, in combination with Q-Matrix™ Hydra, a water removing sorbent, was used to extract a panel of pesticides from 10 g of homogenized cucumber, tomato, and green pepper in less than 9 minutes. The recoveries of the pesticide panel were greater than 70% for each matrix tested, and these results were highly reproducible. The EDGE provides a fully automated extraction that combines both the sample and sorbent into one sample vessel, alleviating the human burden of extraction and the need for multiple sample transfers.



When shopping for produce, consumers want to know that their vegetables and fruits are free of toxic levels of harmful compounds, such as pesticides. Pesticide testing is important because they are known to be harmful to humans and wildlife at certain concentrations. Currently, the industry standard method used to extract the pesticides from fruits and vegetables is the QuEChERS method. This method of extraction requires the tedious weighing of salts, imprecise manual-shaking, and multiple sample transfers, which are all time consuming. Ultimately, one extraction takes between 20 and 60 minutes to complete. Also, the multi-step transfers generate substantial waste. Because of these pain points, food manufacturers have desired an improved method that is faster and automated with the same high recoveries and reproducibility.

In this application note, the EDGE extracted a panel of pesticides from 10 g of homogenized cucumber, tomato, and green pepper using a new bubbling feature and Q-Matrix Hydra, a water-removing sorbent, in less than 9 minutes. The EDGE simplifies the extraction process by using Q-Cup® technology, which contains both the sample and Q-Matrix Hydra in one sample cell, thus alleviating the need for multiple transfers and the generation of waste. Also, the EDGE utilizes its automated bubbling feature to obtain thorough sample mixing, while relieving the human burden of manual shaking. The recoveries of each pesticide were greater than 70% with RSD values less than 15%, indicating a thorough extraction with great reproducibility.


Click here to learn more about EDGE for food testing.