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Evaluation of 99 Pesticide Residues in Major Agricultural Products from the Western Highlands Zone of Cameroon Using QuEChERS Method Extraction and LC-MS/MS and GC-ECD Analyses

By Joseph H. Y. Galani, Michael Houbraken, Abukari Wumbei, Joseph F. Djeugap, Daniel Fotio and Pieter Spanoghe


There is no information available on pesticide residue levels in major food commodities harvested in Cameroon, especially from the western highlands region, the food basket of the country. Hence, this study evaluated the residues of 99 pesticides in 72 samples of 12 agricultural products collected in the region, using QuEChERS (Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged, and Safe) method extraction, and analyzed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and gas chromatography with electron capture detection (GC-ECD). This method was suitable for detecting the targeted compounds: For 81 pesticides by LC-MS/MS, the limit of quantification (LOQ) was between 0.0004 and 0.0537 mg/kg; and for 18 halogenated pesticides by GC-ECD, it ranged from 0.0012 to 0.2180 mg/kg. The residues of 62 pesticides, including 12 banned compounds, were found in the samples. Insecticides (39.7%) were the most prevalent group, with all the samples containing at least one pesticide. Twenty-one pesticides (34.4%) exceeded their European Union maximum residue limits (MRLs) and 22 pesticides (34.4%) were found in all 6 sampling locations. Malathion and <i>p</i>,<i>p</i>&#8242;-DDT were the most distributed pesticides, found in almost all the samples and sampling sites. Food items with the highest rates of positive results were chili pepper (23.2%), white pepper (20.2%), kidney beans (17.3%), and soybeans (17.2%). Samples with residues above their MRLs represented 38% of all the positive analyses; chili pepper (6.4%) and kidney beans (5.5%) were found to have the most residues above their MRLs. The most critical food commodities were kidney beans, soybeans, chili pepper, and maize. This data presents scientific evidence that investigation into continuous monitoring and good regulation of pesticide usage in Cameroon is needed, and paves the way for health risks analysis

Topics: food safety, pesticide residues, QuEChERS method, staple food, Cameroon, Chemical technology, TP1-1185
Publisher: MDPI AG
Year: 2018
DOI identifier: 10.3390/foods7110184
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