A new analytical method has been developed and successfully evaluated in routine application for the quantitative analysis of a selected group of organophosphate pesticides (coumaphos, chlorpyrifos and ethion) which can be found at trace levels in propolis tinctures (ethanolic propolis extracts); a valuable commodity used as raw material in the food and pharmaceutical industries for which there have been few attempts for pesticide residue analysis reported in the literature. The proposed methodology is based on matrix solid phase dispersion (MSPD) using aluminum sulfate anh. a novel dispersant material and subsequent column chromatography clean-up in silica gel prior to gas chromatography (GC) with both flame photometric detector (FPD) and mass spectrometry (MS) detection used for the routine quantification and identification of the residues, respectively. The limits of detection, for coumaphos, chlorpyrifos and ethion were below 26.0 μg/kg in FPD and 1.43 μg/kg for MS detection. Mean recoveries were in the range of 85-123% with RSD values below 13%, which suggests that the proposed method is fit for the purpose of analyzing pesticides in propolis tinctures containing high concentration of polyphenolics. The method has been successfully applied in our laboratory for the last 2 year in the analysis of real propolis tinctures samples.
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