Pesticides/Fungicide cocktails responsible for Death of Bees: analysis via GC-MS

 

2011-jaap-pasfoto4-smallResearchers at the University of Maryland and the US Department of agriculture may have uncovered the mystery of high mortality in honeybees. These insects are responsible for pollinating over 130 different crops in the US alone. Loss of this pollinator species could cost the US $15 Billion annually. The EU (European Union) issued a temporary ban against the neonicotinoid pesticides. Honeybee deaths may be caused by  a ‘witches brew’ of pesticides and antifungals.

 

The scientists are narrowing down which pesticides and antifungals (fungicides) impairs the bees by investigating pollen of different crops (almonds, apple, cranberry, watermelon, pumpkin, cucumber and blueberries). Since a different cocktail of pesticides is used on varying crops researchers have the ability to determine which pesticides have the greatest effect on bee mortality.

On average crops were sprayed with nine different pesticides and one crop tested had 21 different pesticides present. The combination of these chemicals reduces the bees’ resistance to the parasite Nosema ceranae. Bees with compromised resistance die. Some of the most notable pesticides were chlorothalonil, pyraclostrobin (fungicides) and fluvalinate, amitraz (insecticides). This research was published in the scientific journal PLOS One.

Chlorothalonil is analyzed by GC and can be performed on a non-polar Rxi-5ms type column or a stabilized Rxi-5Sil MS. For a list of applications see:
http://www.restek.com/chromatogram/search?s=type:GC::chlorothalonil

Insecticide Fluvalinate and pyraclostrobin fungicides, are a bit more challenging:
http://www.restek.com/chromatogram/search?s=type:GC::chlorothalonil::fluvalinate

We have done this one only using comprehensive (GCxGC-TOF). Here Chlorothanil is also determined. Fig 1 shows a typical chromatogram. In the second dimension the Rtx-200 was chosen showing very good separation of peaks of interest over the whole separation space.

fig. 1 pesticides GCxGC

Fig 1: separation of pesticides using GCxGC-TOF, 30m x 0.25mm Rxi-5SilMS in first dimension and Rtx-200 in second dimension

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