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West Virginia University

New molecular research tool for testing fruit and vegetables for pesticides

New research from West Virginia University is transforming technology. The Eberly College of Arts and Sciences faculty in the C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry are simplifying experiments in mass spectrometry, a method commonly used by chemists, biologists, physicists and forensic scientists for analyzing molecular materials.

The WVU research team has made a vibrating sharp-edge spray ionization device, created by Assistant Professor Peng Li and his research group: a rectangular piece of glass approximately 2.5 inches long and one inch wide that collects and ionizes samples on the spot.

"The application of mass spectrometry in probing dynamic biological processes will be greatly enabled and easily adopted by a broader range of research groups," Li said. "We think this can be a unique way of generating ions. We want to leverage the technique and hopefully enable new studies."

In addition to biomedicine, the research team plans to explore ways to use this method in the future in applications like agriculture, biometrics and forensic science. "This method has great potential for a wide range of applications," Li said. "It can be used for … testing the surface of fruits and vegetables for pesticides."


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