Quality & Sustainabilty Feed

Pesticides and the like in raw material: not with IREKS!

Our ultra-trace analysis laboratory has grown by another module: We established a new method for the determination of pesticides. Read in the article below why this is important and how exactly we can use it to detect pesticide residues in raw material.

What is the initial situation?

Crop protection products are pesticides which are supposed to maintain the health of plants and prevent the destruction as a result of diseases and pest infestation. Although, according to the Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt), approx. 280 active ingredients have been approved in the EU for years, the number of pesticides used worldwide is considerably higher. As a result, it is possible within a globalized commodity market that pesticides, which are not approved in the EU, are found as residues in raw materials. According to the European Commission, as part of the “from farm to fork” strategy, the use of pesticides is to be cut back by 50 % in the EU by 2030.  For this reason, the residues of pesticides permitted will be reduced and the danger of findings within the trace area, which do not conform to the law, will thus become even larger.

How do we provide safety at IREKS?

We are already preparing for this challenge with the use of a new multi-pesticide method. To do this, our latest analysis device in the ultra-trace analysis laboratory will be used: the gas chromatograph, which is linked to a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer. This enables us to be in a position to determine the large number of just over 200 pesticides with only one measurement and, at the same time, to achieve determination limits of 10 ppb. That is 1 g in 1000 tons – i.e. one teaspoon in forty 25 t trucks! Only raw material that complies with the legally valid limit values may be processed.

What else can trace analysis do?

If you already find it impressive how accurately we can test raw material for pesticides in our ultra-trace analysis laboratory, then hold on tight, because there is much more! Additionally, undesired traces like heavy metals, straw shorteners, mycotoxins including ergot alkaloids and secondary plant compounds like tropane alkaloids can be determined this way. However, trace analysis not only reveals negative raw material properties, but also provides important information on the composition of aromas and fatty acids. Quite useful and quite unique in our industry!