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Fields & Applications Mass Spectrometry, Environmental, Food, Beverage & Agriculture

Raising the Bar for Routine Analysis

sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific

We previously introduced the Pesticide Explorer Collection and shared details of the “Standard Quantitation” (see and “Premium Quantitation” packages (see In the final article, we introduce the “HRAM Quantitation” and “HRAM Screening and Quantitation” solutions, both of which benefit from the analytical power of the Thermo Scientific™ Q Exactive™ Focus MS system.

Definitive quantitation

The Orbitrap-based “HRAM Quantitation” configuration uses the Thermo Scientific UltiMate™  3000 LC system as the separation platform – as do all Pesticide Explorer Collection solutions – but differentiates itself with high-resolution, accurate mass analysis – a unique capability that enables quantitation without compromise in sensitivity, accuracy, precision, and linear dynamic range. When it comes to the complex matrices often encountered in food analysis, high resolving power is particularly useful because it overcomes the masking effects of isobaric interferences, allowing detection of pesticides at very low concentrations.

As with all packages of the Pesticide Explorer Collection, HRAM Quantitation comes with all the workflow components needed, from consumables (including the QuEChERS sample preparation reagent kit and HPLC columns), essential hardware and software. The complete package facilitates method development and ultimately enables fast, accurate and cost effective routine pesticide determinations.. Indeed, pre-configured instrument methods for targeted quantitation enable you to start acquiring data with a lot less time and effort – one of the main focal points during development of the collection, according to Dipankar Ghosh, Global Director for Environmental, Food Safety & Industrial Markets at Thermo Fisher Scientific.

When it comes to data analysis, the addition of the HRAM Spectral Fragmentation Library (fully integrated and searchable using TraceFinder™ software) – with over 2,600 compounds and more than 15,000 spectra – gives you the ability to identify compounds with speed and confidence.

Adding non-targeted screening to the mix

The high-resolution accurate-mass MS/MS spectral library is also key for “HRAM Screening and Quantitation” as it also facilitates screening of non-targeted compounds. But in the ultimate Pesticide Explorer package, it is joined by two other powerful pieces of software: Thermo Scientific Compound Discoverer™ and SIEVE™. Compound Discoverer includes an extensive set of tools to ensure confident compound identification and structural elucidation. And SIEVE enables label-free, semi-quantitative differential analysis of complex LC-MS datasets, allowing you to reproducibly identify components with statistically significant inter-sample differences.

Naturally, it’s not all about the software; the HRAM Screening and Quantitation package also fully exploits the power of the Q Exactive Focus system, which allows targeted quantitation and non-targeted screening from a single dataset. With MS/MS HRAM analysis, no sample-specific method optimization is necessary, and the risk of missing important non-targeted compounds is greatly reduced. Once the data has been acquired, it can be reanalyzed retrospectively without the need for sample reinjection.

Ghosh notes the upcoming nature of non-targeted methods,  “Though our triple quadrupole MS-based solutions excel in targeted pesticide analysis, the Q Exactive Focus unlocks the door to unknown screening in routine environments, using the power of Orbitrap technology. This is of increasing importance given the globalized nature of the food industry. And, of course, this capability extends well beyond pesticides.”

And as Kate Mastovska stated in a recent article on the never-ending challenges of pesticide analysis (visit, “When we consider our ever-expanding list of compounds in our target list (right now, we are currently validating a method that looks at over 500 compounds), the ability of HRAM-MS systems to perform non-targeted analysis starts to look increasingly attractive.”

For more information on the Pesticide Explorer Collection, visit:

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