The Pesticide Analytical Laboratory plays a vital support role in furthering the pesticide impact research programme. The Laboratory is regularly involved in developing new analytical methods for quantitative analysis.
Pesticide residue analysis by gas chromatography
GC/MS for identifying unknown substances
The Pesticide Analytical Laboratory plays a vital support role in furthering the pesticide impact research programme of the Division. Although some projects generate semi-routine work by virtue of the large numbers of samples requiring analyses, the Laboratory is geared for research type analyses of water, sediment, soil, and plant material for residues of a wide range of pesticides, herbicides and other pollutants. Confirmation of the identities of pesticide residues, including insecticides, herbicides and fungicides in air, soil, water, plant material, animal material, foods and feeds by GC-MS is also done. The Laboratory is regularly involved in developing new analytical methods for quantitative analysis.
The Pesticide Analytical Laboratory is committed to the provision of high quality research services. Following the international trend, the Laboratory is in the process of implemented and monitoring an internationally accepted quality assurance system, namely, Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), which is based on prescribed documented guidelines by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In addition, the Laboratory regularly participates in Inter-laboratory Calibration exercises. Detection limits are frequently lower than those reported by other analytical laboratories. This analytical capability has enabled research to expand on pesticide risk to human health and the environment, involving the analysis of human breast milk, mainly from KwaZulu-Natal rural areas, for pyrethroid and organochlorine pesticide content. The latter are pesticides used in malaria vector control. Experience has been gained in assisting farmers resolve agricultural pesticide problems by analyses of contaminated soil and water and interpreting the data. Formulations and technical materials have also been analyzed and the results used to resolve problems relating to suspect identities of spraying solutions and non-target damage to crops.
In short, the Pesticide Analytical Laboratory can provide the following:
- Analysis of insecticide, herbicide and fungicide residues in soil, sediment, water, foods, and feeds, and in plant and animal material
- GC-MS confirmation of insecticide, herbicide and fungicide residues in soil, sediment, water, foods, and feeds, and in plant and animal material
- Verification of the active ingredients of pesticide formulations
- Development of new methods for pesticide residue analyses
Programme Manager: Dr Eric Sandmann
Campus: Roodeplaat, Pretoria