<OL> <LI>Continue to develop and improve methods of analysis for organic chemicals in food, water and environmental matrices using modern analytical techniques, including EIA, GC/MS/ECD/AED and LC/PDA/FL and MS/MS. <LI>Continue collaborative efforts with the Maine Board of Pesticides Control, the Maine Blueberry Commission, USDA/ARS, as well as a number of Maine businesses and researchers from several disciplines on the University of Maine campus. <LI>Continue to monitor and report findings (through peer-reviewed journals, government agencies and agricultural concerns) of important (organic) chemical substances in Maines agricultural products and environment. <LI>Train/expose graduate, undergraduate and high school students to advanced instrumentation and laboratory techniques in the field of analytical chemistry.
Non-Technical Summary: There remains a need for more efficient, more sensitive and less expensive methods for the anlysis of both benificial and toxic chemicals in our food and water. The purpose of this project is to improve exisiting methods as well as develop new techniques for food, water and environmental analysis. <P> Approach: 1. Residual Pesticides We will continue to develop efficient, more sensitive and less expensive analytical methods for the detection and quantitation of residual pesticides in a variety of food and environmental matrices. Current projects include ground water monitoring programs to ascertain pesticide levels associated with both agricultural and residential practices. Blueberry pesticides continue to be a concern in Maine, because they tend to leach quickly through the sand/gravel soils to which they are applied. Another evolving concern is the non-point pollution of pesticides in surface water from residential uses. Using newly-acquired LC/MS/MS equipment and newer SPE phases we will assist the MBPC in evaluating phenoxy acid herbicides and synthetic pyrethroids in storm water run-off from suburban areas. 2.Endocrine Disruptors Working with other University researchers we have begun to explore the complex area of endocrine disruptors in the environment. The initial phase of this project involves the analysis of sewage treatment plant effluent for estrogens. Influent (untreated) and effluent (treated) samples from area wastewater treatment plants will be screened using breast tissue cells with special receptors to estrogenic compounds. Positive samples will then be concentrated and analyzed in our laboratory using various HPLC techniques. As this project progresses, samples will be fractioned via SPE and the resulting portions will be screened using the previously described mammalian cell technique. Positive samples will be analyzed by HPLC/MS/MS and/or GC/MS, depending on the polarity of the suspected estrogenic compounds. The outcome of this research is three-fold. New extraction and analytical techniques, using traditional chromatographic instrumentation will be developed to identify and quantify target compounds, as well as support new, rapid and inexpensive biological techniques for the screening of estrogenic substances. 3.Natural Toxins The development of analytical methods to screen our food supply for mycotoxins has become an area of increasing importance. To help protect both the apple cider producers and consumers in Maine we will modify and develop analytical methods for the quantitation of patulin in apple cider as well as other fruit juices and fruit products. The goal of our research will be to make existing procedures more sensitive, reliable and inexpensive. We intend to use these new techniques to ascertain patulin levels in Maines apple products and to work with University of Maine Extension researchers towards the development and implementation of processing techniques to minimize patulin contamination of the food supply. 4.Phytopharmaceuticals In collaboration with USDA-ARS researchers, we have completed several projects entailing the capsaicinoid content of a number of Capsicum species. Partnership in this research area will continue and will be expanded to include the non-pungent analogs and homologs from the capsinoid family of chemicals.