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QuEChERS Sample Preparation For The Determination Of Pesticides And Other Organic Residues In Environmental Matrices: A Critical Review

M. C. Bruzzoniti, L. Checchini, R. M. Carlo, S. Orlandini, L. Rivoira, M. Bubba
Published 2014 · Chemistry, Medicine

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Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged, and Safe (QuEChERS) is an extraction and clean-up technique originally developed for recovering pesticide residues from fruits and vegetables. Since its introduction, and until December 2013, about 700 papers have been published using the QuEChERS technique, according to a literature overview carried out using SciFinder, Elsevier SciVerse, and Google search engines. Most of these papers were dedicated to pesticide multiresidue analysis in food matrices, and this topic has been thoroughly reviewed over recent years. The QuEChERS approach is now rapidly developing beyond its original field of application to analytes other than pesticides, and matrices other than food, such as biological fluids and non-edible plants, including Chinese medicinal plants. Recently, the QuEChERS concept has spread to environmental applications by analyzing not only pesticides but also other compounds of environmental concern in soil, sediments, and water. To the best of our knowledge, QuEChERS environmental applications have not been reviewed so far; therefore, in this contribution, after a general discussion on the evolution and changes of the original QuEChERS method, a critical survey of the literature regarding environmental applications of conventional and modified QuEChERS methodology is provided. The overall recoveries obtained with QuEChERS and other extraction approaches (e.g., accelerated solvent extraction, ultrasonic solvent extraction, liquid/solid extraction, and soxhlet extraction) were compared, providing evidence for QuEChERS higher recoveries for various classes of compounds, such as biopesticides, chloroalkanes, phenols, and perfluoroalkyl substances. The role of physicochemical properties of soil (i.e., clay and organic carbon content, as well as cation exchange capacity) and target analytes (i.e., log KOW, water solubility, and vapor pressure) were also evaluated in order to interpret recovery and matrix effect data.
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