As we all know, pesticides were widely used as a chemical prevention and control measure for plants to be away from diseases, pests and weed damage. However, because of extensive usage of pesticides, the residue and environmental pollution problem, such as water, soil and air, presents public concerns more and more (Deng et al. 2019). Human health carries certain risks on pesticide residue for the reason of food chain concentration, passive/active exposure and chronic/acute toxicity for users and consumers (Voltz et al. 2022). In order to evaluate the residue level of pesticides, the maximum residue limits (MRLs) were established to supervise the quality of agricultural products and had important influence on international trade between different countries.
Vegetables, which take 30% proportion of human diet intake, are the main pathway of pesticide residue dietary risk to human (Claeys et al. 2011). Pepper (Capsicum annuum), which is a very common kind of vegetables, has different pharmacological functions, such as gastric protection, anti-inflammation, and obesity treatment (Wu et al. 2020). China is the largest production and consumption country of peppers (Wang et al. 2009). As a popular kind of vegetables, peppers have higher output value and economic benefits than cabbages in China (Dai et al. 2005). But, during the growing process, peppers always suffer from different diseases including anthrax. Many chemicals have been marketed to prevent pepper’ diseases as fungicides, such as pyraclostrobin and tebuconazole.
Pyraclostrobin, which is one kind of strobilurin group fungicides developed by BASF company, acts through inhibition of mitochondrial respiration by blocking electron transfer within the respiratory chain, which in turn causes important cellular biochemical processes to be severely disrupted, and results in cessation of fungal growth (JMPR 2003). Pyraclostrobin has already been registered on 57 categories of crops including peppers in China. GB 2763 − 2021 has established pyraclostrobin’s MRL (0.5 mg/kg) on peppers. Pyraclostrobin is generally used for preventing different diseases including mildew, powdery mildew, etc. (C. MacBean 2015). For example, pyraclostrobin could be applied to prevent four Colletotrichum species on peppers in greenhouse trials collocated with difenoconazole (Shi et al. 2021), prevent Fusarium asiaticum and Fusarium graminearum on wheat without cross-resistance (Zhao et al. 2021), prevent bacterial and fungal diseases in grape combined with dimethomorph (Wang et al. 2018), et al. However, pyraclostrobin could also make negative influence on bees that it would lead to significant deleterious effects in stingless bees at a colonial level (da Costa Domingues et al. 2020). Furthermore, the residue of pyraclostrobin on fruits and vegetables could cause food safety problem easily for the reason of hard removal (Yang et al. 2020). It is necessary to clarify the residue on fruits and vegetables. The analysis methods for pyraclostrobin included GC-MS/MS (Park et al. 2021), HPLC (de Melo Abreu et al. 2006) and LC-MS/MS (Li et al. 2020), et al.
Tebuconazole is a broad-spectrum triazole fungicide developed by Bayer. As a seed dressing tebuconazole is effective against various smut and bunt diseases of cereals. As a foliar spray it controls numerous pathogens such as rust species, powdery mildew and scale in various crops (JMPR 1994). Tebuconazole has been registered on peppers in China and GB 2763 − 2021 has established tebuconazole’s MRL (2 mg/kg) on peppers. Although, tebuconazole had significant effects on fungal diseases of fruits, vegetables, beans and food crops as both pre-harvest and post-harvest applications (Shuang et al. 2021), it may cause negative effects of reproductive success for farmland birds through the ingestion of seeds (Lopez-Antia et al. 2021). Furthermore, there are many determination methods on tebuconazole for its high sensitivity, such as LC-UV (Miyauchi et al. 2005), LC-MS/MS (Pallavi et al. 2021), et al.
Based on the researches above, there’s no studies paid attention to the residue behavior of peppers applied with preparations mixed by pyraclostrobin and tebuconazole, the acute dietary exposure of two fungicides on peppers, and the significant difference of residue for different planting conditions: greenhouse and open field. So it is necessary to study these aspects to improve the food safety data of two pesticides on peppers.
The purpose of this study were: (1) to develop a method to simultaneously determine pyraclostrobin and tebuconazole in peppers using UPLC-MS/MS combine with an optimized quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe (QuEChERS) sample preparation, and (2) to study the residue behavior of pyraclostrobin and tebuconazole applied on peppers, then (3) to evaluate if the significant difference exist between different planting conditions of greenhouse and open field by t-result test, finally (4) to evaluate the acute dietary exposure risk of two fungicides on peppers