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The Benefits of Using SWATH Acquisition Technology when Testing Pesticides in Food

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Up until recently, SWATH® Independent Data Acquisition (IDA), was not widely used for the detection of pesticides in food samples. Introduced in 2012, SWATH Acquisition is an advanced acquisition technology capable of running on high-resolution mass spectrometers such as the X500R QTOF system or Triple TOF technology. Originally used in the Omics market to ID and quantify complex samples, SWATH Acquisition is gradually making a transition across markets including the investigation of pesticides in food. Like designer drugs, pesticides continuously undergo synthesizing, and food labs are beginning to require a more reliable analysis method to be confident in their resulting reports.Download Technote >

I talked about SWATH in food testing a couple of months ago and wish to bring up the subject again as labs make a push to keep up with regulatory requirements. Targeted analysis has been the benchmark for GC-MS and LC-MS methods for years, but as more and more labs compete for market share, higher end instruments capable of Independent Data Acquisition (IDA) are on point. The benefits being that SWATH Acquisition has evolved to address small molecule compounds making it ideal for routine pesticide, mycotoxin, and veterinary drug analysis. Furthermore, the IDA scanning function results in fragmentation information for all ions in the entire mass range so researchers are confident they are detecting all compounds in a sample instead of relying on selective ions.

In the following technical note, “X500R QTOF System with SWATH® Acquisition for Pesticide Residue Screening in Fruits and Vegetables,” researchers demonstrate how to achieve an all-in-one process analysis with instrument control, data acquisition and data processing using, you guessed it,  SWATH Acquisition. If you are hesitant to attempt this type of analysis, don’t be. The above application note walks you through the set-up process and data analysis of the 190 most commonly used types of pesticides for the Ministry of Agriculture risk assessment.

The Take Away: The experiment used the SCIEX X500R QTOF System’s SWATH technology to screen pesticide residues in six varieties of vegetables and fruits, among which leeks, kidney beans, and jujube contained six or more types of pesticide residue. Find out which sample exceeded the limits of pesticide residue and how researchers obtained the primary and secondary data of all pesticide residues by singularly entering the samples. Uncover how to directly establish methods using SCIEX OS and more when you read the tech note. 


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