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Contaminant analysis in Food by Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry: towards a generic extraction and screening for pesticides and veterinary drugs


The presence of potentially hazardous pesticides and veterinary drugs in food remains a major concern among European consumers. It is important to monitor their residues to ensure that they are not found in food at levels presenting an unacceptable risk to humans. A variety of multiresidue analytical methods are used in official routine laboratories to help ensure the safety of food and feed in Europe. However, highly polar analytes cannot be usually included in these methods due to their different physic-chemical characteristics. Also, the number of residues routinely analyzed is limited and data are collected only for those targeted compounds, so other potentially harmful, non-targeted analytes or their metabolites are not detected although being present in the sample.
The project’s general main goal will be the development of generic, faster and more cost-efficient multiresidue methods for the extraction and analysis in food samples of a wide range of pesticides and veterinary drugs, both target (focusing on highly polar problematic analytes) and non-target compounds (including metabolites), using state-of-the-art analytical equipment, i.e. liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. These methods will permit more food samples to be monitored due to the lower cost and time per test. In combination with the broadened spectrum of detectable contaminants and the additional safety provided for unexpected residues, the project will significantly increase food safety in Europe.
The overall work will be carried out at the “Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Analytical Chemistry” (LCAP) at the University of Geneva, a long-experienced group in the development of methods for the analysis of drugs and metabolites with modern techniques. As part of collaboration, the developed methods will be transferred to the “Laboratory of Contaminants” at the Food Authority Control (SCAV) of Geneva in order to routinely implement them as a complement to their own procedures.

Call for proposal

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Rue Du General Dufour 24
1211 Geneve

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Serge Rudaz (Dr.)
EU contribution
€ 184 709,40