Comparison of an acetonitrile extraction/partitioning and "dispersive solid-phase extraction" method with classical multi-residue methods for the extraction of herbicide residues in barley samples.J Chromatogr A. 2006 Oct 27; 1131(1-2):11-23.JC
An acetonitrile/partitioning extraction and "dispersive solid-phase extraction (SPE)" method that provides high quality results with a minimum number of steps and a low solvent and glassware consumption was published in 2003. This method, suitable for the analysis of multiple classes of pesticide residues in foods, has been given an acronymic name, QuEChERS, that reflects its major advantages (quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, safe). In this work, QuEChERS method, which was originally created for vegetable samples with a high amount of water, was modified to optimise the extraction of a wide range of herbicides in barley. Then, it was compared with known conventional multi-residue extraction procedures such as the Luke method, which was simplified and shortened by eliminating the Florisil clean-up (mini Luke) and the ethyl acetate extraction, which involves a subsequent clean-up by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) and which is the official extraction method used by some of European authorities. Finally, a simple acetone extraction was carried out to check the differences with the other three methods. Extracts were analysed by gas chromatography-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC-TOF/MS) and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Mini Luke was significantly more effective for the extraction of non-polar and medium-polar compounds, but the best recoveries for polar compounds were achieved by QuEChERS and ethyl acetate methods. QuEChERS was the only method that provided an overall recovery value of 60-70% for non-, medium- and polar compounds, with some exceptions due to co-eluted matrix interferences. Clean-up by dispersive SPE was effective and did not differ so much with ethyl acetate extracts considering that QuEChERS clean-up step is much easier and less time-consuming. As a conclusion, it resulted to be the most universal extraction method by providing a well-defined phase separation without dilution and achieving acceptable recoveries in average including the extraction of the always difficult acidic herbicides. However, recoveries were not as good as required for validation purposes suggesting that residues are prone to strong matrix interactions in dry samples as barley and further method adaptation incrementing solvent strength, extraction time or more acidic or basic conditions is needed in order to achieve a complete extraction.