Food Analytical Methods

, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 1699–1708 | Cite as

Determination of Pesticides in Wheat Flour Using Microextraction on Packed Sorbent Coupled to Ultra-High Performance Liquid Chromatography and Tandem Mass Spectrometry

  • Francesca Di Ottavio
  • Flavio Della Pelle
  • Camilla Montesano
  • Rossana Scarpone
  • Alberto Escarpa
  • Dario Compagnone
  • Manuel Sergi


An ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC–MS/MS) method for multiclass analysis of pesticide and fungicide residues in wheat flour based is presented. An efficient and rapid cleanup based on microextraction by packed sorbent (MEPS) has been developed in order to have a good enrichment factor together with a low matrix effect. The target analytes were 25 pesticides widely used in wheat, with different physico-chemical characteristics and different mechanism of action: acetylcholinesterase inhibitors such as organophosphorus, carbamates, neonicotinoids, and inhibitors of ergosterol such as imidazoles and triazoles. MEPS was shown to be successful with reduction of the amount of solvent required and possibility of automation of the cleanup procedure. The whole method was then validated according to the SANCO/12571/2013 guidelines, proving its suitability as confirmation method for the selected analytes.


Pesticides Wheat flour MEPS UHPLC–MS/MS Multiclass analysis 


Compliance with Ethical Standards


This study was funded by Italian Ministry of Health (grant number MSRCTE0414).

Conflict of Interest

Francesca Di Ottavio declares that she has no conflict of interest. Flavio Della Pelle declares that he has no conflict of interest. Camilla Montesano declares that she has no conflict of interest. Rossana Scarpone declares that she has no conflict of interest. Alberto Escarpa declares that he has no conflict of interest. Dario Compagnone declares that he has no conflict of interest. Manuel Sergi declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Not applicable.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Bioscience and Technology for Food, Agriculture, and EnvironmentUniversity of TeramoTeramoItaly
  2. 2.Department of ChemistrySapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  3. 3.Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e del Molise “G. Caporale”TeramoItaly
  4. 4.Department of Analytical Chemistry, Physical Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringUniversity of AlcaláMadridSpain

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