Methodology for the identification of 117 pesticides commonly involved in the poisoning of wildlife using GC-MS-MS and LC-MS-MS

J Anal Toxicol. 2014 Apr;38(3):155-63. doi: 10.1093/jat/bku009. Epub 2014 Feb 10.


Poisoning with agricultural chemicals is a major threat for wildlife all over the world. We have developed and validated an analytical scheme aimed to the identification and quantification of a wide range of pesticides in fresh liver from wildlife specimens that are routinely delivered to the forensic laboratories for toxicological investigation. The proposed method is comprised of a general solid-liquid extraction followed by purification steps and three complementary liquid or gas chromatographic analyses with triple quadrupole mass spectrometry detection. The developed methodology allows for the determination of 117 highly toxic pesticides in a variety of samples from wildlife poisoning incidents. The validity of the method has been demonstrated in samples from 98 real cases submitted to our laboratory between 2010 and 2012. This method allowed the identification and quantification of poison in 78 of 94 fresh liver samples from wild animals and was successfully used for the identification of pesticides in 35 of 46 non-liver samples. Therefore, the extraction and cleanup method with minor modifications and the potency of triple quadrupole mass spectrometry allow this method to be used to simultaneously detect and quantify or semi-quantify a majority of the most toxic pesticides in a variety of complex and degraded matrices.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Wild*
  • Chromatography, Gas / methods
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods*
  • Insecta
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Meat / analysis
  • Pesticide Residues / analysis
  • Pesticides / analysis*
  • Pesticides / poisoning*
  • Plants
  • Quality Control
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Solid Phase Extraction
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods*


  • Pesticide Residues
  • Pesticides