Simultaneous determination of 10 plant growth promoters in fruits and vegetables with a modified QuEChERS based liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry method
A modified QuEChERS (quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged and safe) method was proposed for the multi-residue analysis of 10 widely used plant growth promoters (PGPs) utilizing liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). A fast polarity switching mode of mass spectrometry was used to enlarge the scope of detection and improve the response of target compounds. The calibration curves showed good linearity in the range of 5.0 to 200.0 μg L−1 with correlation coefficients in excess of 0.990. No significant matrix effects were observed. Recoveries of 81–113% were obtained for all 10 PGPs with RSD values lower than 15% at three concentration levels in tomato, cucumber, watermelon and apple. Limits of detection and limits of quantification ranged from 0.1 to 1.5 μg kg−1 and 0.3 to 5.0 μg kg−1, respectively. The developed method offered a fast and safe alternative to typical multi-PGP analysis methods for fruit and vegetable samples with high recoveries and low susceptibility to matrix effects.