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The QuEChERS method is a streamlined approach that makes it easier and less expensive for analytical chemists to examine pesticide residues in food. The name is a portmanteau word formed from "Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged, and Safe".
The QuEChERS method has been readily accepted by many pesticide residue analysts. Some modifications to the original QuEChERS method had to be introduced to ensure efficient extraction of pH dependent compounds (e.g. phenoxyalcanoic acids), to minimize degradation of susceptible compounds (e.g. base and acid labile pesticides) and to expand the spectrum of matrices covered.
The analyst homogenizes the sample (fruits, vegetables, tobacco, etc.) in a blender and puts it in a centrifuge tube with a reagent and agitates for one minute. The reagents used depend on the type of sample to be analysed. Following this the sample is put through a cleanup column prior to analysis by Gas-liquid chromatography.
Samples prepared using the QuEChERS method can be processed more quickly using a homogenization instrument. Such instruments can homogenize the food sample in a centrifuge tube, then agitate the sample with the reagent of choice, before moving the extracted sample for centrifuging. By using such an instrument, the samples can moved through the QuEChERS method more quickly.