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J Agric Food Chem. 2010 May 26;58(10):5926-31. doi: 10.1021/jf904120n.

Refined methodology for the determination of neonicotinoid pesticides and their metabolites in honey bees and bee products by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS).

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  • 1Analytical Chemistry Laboratory, Biological and Economic Analysis Division, Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency 701 Mapes Road, Fort George G Meade, Maryland 20755, USA.


An analytical method was refined for the extraction and determination of neonicotinoid pesticide residues and their metabolites in honey bees and bee products. Samples were extracted with 2% triethylamine (TEA) in acetonitrile (ACN) followed by salting out, solid phase extraction (SPE) cleanup, and detection using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). The method was validated in triplicate at three fortification concentrations in each matrix. Good recoveries were observed for most analytes and ranged between 70 and 120% with relative standard deviations between replicates of <20% in most cases. The method limits of detection were 0.2 ng/g for the parent neonicotinoid pesticides and ranged between 0.2 and 15 ng/g for the neonicotinoid metabolites. This refined method provides lower detection limits and improved recovery of neonicotinoids and their metabolites, which will help researchers evaluate subchronic effects of these pesticides, address data gaps related to colony collapse disorder (CCD), and determine the role of pesticides in pollinator decline.

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