Comprehensive gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry for the separation of pesticides in a very complex matrix
The present research is focused on the development of a comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography–rapid scanning quadrupole mass spectrometric (GC x GC-qMS) methodology for the analysis of trace-amount pesticides contained in a complex real-world sample. Reliable peak assignment was carried out by using a recently developed, dedicated pesticide MS library (for comprehensive GC analysis), characterized by a twin-filter search procedure, the first based on a minimum degree of spectral similarity and the second on the interactive use of linear retention indices (LRI). The library was constructed by subjecting mixtures of commonly used pesticides to GC x GC-qMS analysis and then deriving their pure mass spectra and LRI values. In order to verify the effectiveness of the approach, a pesticide-contaminated red grapefruit extract was analysed. The certainty of peak assignment was attained by exploiting both the enhanced separation power of dual-oven GC x GC and the highly effective search procedure.