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Talanta. 2005 Mar 15;65(5):1179-89. doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2004.08.057.

Assessment of pesticide contamination in soil samples from an intensive horticulture area, using ultrasonic extraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

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  • 1Laboratory of Hydrology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto, Rua Anibal Cunha, 164/4050-047 Porto, Portugal.


In order to reduce the amount of sample to be collected and the time consumed in the analytical process, a broad range of analytes should be preferably considered in the same analytical procedure. A suitable methodology for pesticide residue analysis in soil samples was developed based on ultrasonic extraction (USE) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). For this study, different classes of pesticides were selected, both recent and old persistent molecules: parent compounds and degradation products, namely organochlorine, organophosphorous and pyrethroid insecticides, triazine and acetanilide herbicides and other miscellaneous pesticides. Pesticide residues could be detected in the low- to sub-ppb range (0.05-7.0mugkg(-1)) with good precision (7.5-20.5%, average 13.7% R.S.D.) and extraction efficiency (69-118%, average 88%) for the great majority of analytes. This methodology has been applied in a monitoring program of soil samples from an intensive horticulture area in Póvoa de Varzim, North of Portugal. The pesticides detected in four sampling programs (2001/2002) were the following: lindane, dieldrin, endosulfan, endosulfan sulfate, 4,4'-DDE, 4,4'-DDD, atrazine, desethylatrazine, alachlor, dimethoate, chlorpyrifos, pendimethalin, procymidone and chlorfenvinphos. Pesticide contamination was investigated at three depths and in different soil and crop types to assess the influence of soil characteristics and trends over time.

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