Pesticides and their metabolites in human urine: development of multi-analyte method by LC-MS/MS and GC-MS/MS

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The objective of this study consists of being able to develop a precise, reliable, easy, cheap and quick method to identify and quantify the presence of pesticide metabolites and their parents in human urine. In order to reach our purpose we selected the pesticides and their metabolites with intended uses on permanent crops such as orchards and vineyard. The activity planning started with the identification of the target list carried out by UHPLC-MS/MS and GC-MS/MS, succeeded by several tests oriented to determine the best sample treatment having recourse to instrumental analysis in the range 5–100 ng/mL. Several purifications were also investigated combining different adsorbents (PSA, EMR-lipid and final polish pouch). The use of formic acid during the extraction step has no impact on the recoveries, whereas the PSA adsorbent in the cleanup step negatively affects the results for all investigated metabolites. Any substantial differences were not observed in urine matrix for parent compounds achieving recoveries higher than 80% and RSD less than 20%. The final polish in combination or not with Enhanced Matrix Removal EMR-lipid did not show statistically significant difference in term of trueness and precision for both metabolites and parents, as evaluated by one-way ANOVA. The 3-OH THPI was the most critical compound with not acceptable results for linearity, trueness and precision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-438
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Science and Health - Part B Pesticides, Food Contaminants, and Agricultural Wastes
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • human exposure
  • mass spectrometry
  • multi–metabolite method (MmM)
  • Pesticide residue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Pollution


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