Sicural, a laboratory authorized by the Ministry for Agricultural Policy for the analysis of samples taken during checks on organic crops, is currently performing analyses on phosphonic acid, produced by Fosetyl aluminium degradation. This is because of technical regulation RT 16Accredia, which entered into force a few weeks ago.
At work with LC MS/MS
"Fosetyl aluminium is the active principle of many fungicides and it is widely used, although it cannot be employed in case of organic cultivation. Often, however, analyses detect phosphonic acid, which is the degradation product of said active principle," explain Maverik Bezzi, Silvia Zuccherelli and Giusy Riciputi from Sicural.
When it comes to organic produce, RT16 establishes that a level of phosphonic acid above or equal to 0.010 mg/kg is not enough to rule out the use of inadmissible or admissible but irregular technical means. This leads to further analyses by the Certifying Body to identify the potential cause of the positive result.
"A specific warning level must be defined and the fact that the phosphonic acid may derive from natural plant components or foliar fertilization."
"The new detection limit is rather critical and needs sensitive tools such as LC MS/MS, which we are not equipped with. The analysis method and experience in using the tools is also just as important."
"Analyses and checks of organic crops are very strict. We are at full disposal for any clarification."