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Environ Sci Technol. 2013 Aug 20;47(16):9317-23. doi: 10.1021/es4010619. Epub 2013 Jul 30.

Quantitative determination of trisiloxane surfactants in beehive environments based on liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry.

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Department of Entomology, Center for Pollinator Research, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA.


Organosilicone surfactants are increasingly being applied to agricultural agro-ecosystems as spray adjuvants, and were recently shown to impact the learning ability of honey bees. Here we developed a method for analyzing three trisiloxane surfactants (single polyethoxylate (EO) chain and end-capped with methyl, acetyl, or hydroxyl groups; TSS-CH3, TSS-COCH3, or TSS-H) in beehive matrices based on liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and the QuEChERS (quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe) approach from less than 2 g of honey, pollen, or beeswax. Recoveries for each oligomer (2-13 EO) were between 66 and 112% in all matrices. Average method detection limits (MDL) were 0.53, 0.60, 0.56 ng/g in honey, 0.63, 0.81, 0.78 ng/g in pollen, and 0.51, 0.69, 0.63 ng/g in beeswax. Five honey, 10 pollen, and 10 beeswax samples were analyzed. Trisiloxane surfactants were detected in every beeswax and 60% of the pollen samples. Total trisiloxane surfactant concentrations were up to 390 and 39 ng/g in wax and pollen. The described method is proved suitable for analyzing trisiloxane surfactants in beehive samples. The presence of trisiloxane surfactants in North American beehives calls for renewed effort to investigate the consequence of these adjuvants to bee health and the ongoing global bee decline.

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