Determination of pesticide residues in rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) teas in South Africa

O. M. Areo*, J. O. Olowoyo, L. S. Sethoga, O. A. Adebo, P. B. Njobeh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


An efficient gas chromatography–mass spectrometry approach was used in this study to quantify 13 pesticide residues in rooibos teas purchased from registered retail outlets in South Africa between November 2019 and April 2020. A QuEChERS (Quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe) procedure was used to extract pesticides using 7.5 mg of graphitized carbon black (GCB), 50 mg of primary secondary amine (PSA), and 150 mg of anhydrous MgSO4. In order to compensate for the matrix effect, matrix matched calibration curves ranging from 10 µg/kg–500 µg/kg were applied for accurate quantification. For validation purposes, accuracy tests were conducted using a blank tea sample spiked with pesticide standards at two different concentrations (10 and 100 μg/kg). Most of the analytes were recovered within acceptable recovery ranges (72–106%), with a relative standard deviation of less than 20%. The limits of quantification were low, all falling below 10 μg/kg which meets the maximum residue limits (MRLs). The validated method was used to analyze 100 tea samples, and among the pesticides analyzed, deltamethrin and lambda-cyhalothrin were detected in only one samples at a concentration (92.11 and 66.41 μg/kg, respectively) below the MRLs stipulated by the European Union. The level of pesticides that are commonly used in tea should be checked often.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)852-857
Number of pages6
JournalToxicology Reports
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Limit of quantification
  • Maximum residue limits
  • Pesticide residues
  • Quick easy cheap effective rugged and safe
  • South Africa


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