Standard Article

Herbicide Residues in Biota, Analysis of


  1. J.V. Headley1,
  2. L.C. Dickson1,
  3. A.J. Cessna2

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a1710

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Headley, J., Dickson, L. and Cessna, A. 2006. Herbicide Residues in Biota, Analysis of. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    National Hydrology Research Centre, Saskatoon, Canada

  2. 2

    Agriculture and Agri-Food Research Centre, Lethbridge, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (10 SEP 2015)


Current extraction, derivatization and clean-up techniques, and instrumental methods are reviewed for the analysis of herbicide residues in biota. Sampling procedures are shown to be an integral part of the methodology. Herbicide analysis is seldom based on analyte-specific methods but is usually integrated into multiresidue methods (MRMs). Current methods generally utilize relatively small sample sizes and miniaturized apparatus to take advantage of advances in instrumental performance and detection of analytes. These methods reduce the amount of solvent used for sample preparation and help to minimize waste generation. As well as using less solvent, the resulting miniaturized methods tend to be generally cheaper, faster, and less labor-intensive than conventional methods and, furthermore, they reduce analyst exposure to hazardous materials.

Mass spectrometry (MS), interfaced with high-resolution gas chromatography (GC), high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and capillary electrophoresis (CE), has become the detection method of choice for herbicide analysis. MS is well suited to the confirmation of target analytes and the tentative identification of unknown analytes. HPLC–mass spectrometers are becoming more widely available and less expensive. CE is a relatively new separation technique providing many advantages over traditional gas and liquid chromatography, including shorter analysis times and smaller injection volumes. There have been advances in the development of immunoassays primarily for the rapid screening for herbicide residues. These methods, once optimized, can facilitate high sample throughput at relatively low cost compared to conventional approaches. To date however, development has been limited to aqueous systems and little immunoassay work has been done for the direct determination of herbicides in biota.