Currently, over 2,000 plant protection products are approved for use in Poland (the full list with information on the composition is available here). Compounds from the pesticide group due to their availability, persistence, toxicity and bioaccumulation are one of the most well-known toxic substances that negatively affect the natural environment. They are especially dangerous in cereals as well as fruits and vegetables. Manufacturers, depending on the plant species, disease or pest, mode of action, active substance and current availability, choose the preparations themselves.
The most effective action to limit the impact of these compounds on the consumers body is constant monitoring of their occurrence in food products. Theoretically, every batch of agricultural product entering the market should be checked for acceptable pesticide residue level, and only products that meet the standards may be placed on the market. In practice, in some product groups, exceeding the norms is detected even in the case of 10-20% of tested goods.
Currently, pesticide detection is carried out only in specialized laboratories. Routine test methods include gas chromatography, liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. These are certified methods that meet current standards.
The necessary laboratory equipment is expensive and requires qualified personnel and multi-stage processing of samples prior to a measurement.
The complexity of the analysis results in several days of testing and high costs. There is therefore an economic need to limit them.
All entities that market agricultural products (wholesalers, processors, commercial networks) must prove that pesticide residues do not exceed acceptable standards. Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 February 2005 defines the maximum quantities of pesticides in agricultural products. In addition, there are individual acceptable limits for substance content (specific values available here) for each agricultural product.
This means the need to verify the content of pesticides in each batch, which is associated with high testing costs, long waiting times for results, increased storage and cooling costs.
Rambox - a box for special tasks
Rambox offers an innovative measuring system for fast, screening measurement of pesticide content in agricultural products. Rambox is a mobile device for measuring in the field. The system will operate based on Raman signal amplification technology using SERS substrates.