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Determination of Persistent Environmental Pollutants in Bee Pollen by Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry Using a Modified QuEChERS Approach

[ Vol. 12 , Issue. 4 ]


Yue Wei, Fang Chen, Xiaofeng Xue, Yi Li, Jinhuizhou, Liuwei Zhao, Weirui Cao, Linsheng Yu and Liming Wu   Pages 366 - 377 ( 12 )


Background: Bee pollen, a type of floristic pollen collected by honeybees, is extracted at the hive entrance using a pollen trap, and had mixed with saliva and gland secretions. Considering its natural origin, pollen may be contaminated with pollutants due to hidden environmental factors and extensive application of pesticides. Because of their environmental persistence and prevalence in various environmental mediums, POPs can be encountered by forage bees and carried back to hives. The aim of the present study was to develop an analytical method for simultaneous determination of trace levels of 16 PAHs, 14 OCPs and 7 PCBs in bee pollen.

Methods: A new method was developed using QuEChERS/GC-MS. For the initial extraction step, QuEChERS Extract Tubes based on the AOAC method for the acetate-buffered version were used. The following tubes were used for the subsequent cleanup step: dispersive tubes.

Results: Recoveries of target analytes under optimized conditions ranged from 51.3% to 138.8%. Limits of detection and limits of quantification were lesser or equal to 5.8 and 19.2 g/kg, respectively. The correlation coefficients of 37 target analytes were higher than 0.99. This study lays the foundation for the further research into bee pollen as an environmental indicator.

Conclusion: The method is simple, economical, effective and robust for simultaneous analysis of 37 kinds of POPs in bee pollen matrix. The degree of environmental pollution could be evaluated by analyzing the pollutants in bee pollen samples. This study lays the foundation for the further research into bee pollen as an environmental indicator.


Bee pollen, Persistent environmental pollutants, QuEChERS, GC-MS.


College of animal science and technology of Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei 230036, P.R. China., Institute of Apicultural Research, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100093, P.R. China.

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