Determination of Glyphosate Levels in Breast Milk Samples from Germany by LC-MS/MS and GC-MS/MS

Angelika Steinborn*, Lutz Alder, Britta Michalski, Paul Zomer, Paul Bendig, Sandra Aleson Martinez, Hans G.J. Mol, Thomas J. Class, Nathalie Costa Pinheiro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


This study describes the validation and application of two independent analytical methods for the determination of glyphosate in breast milk. They are based on liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS), respectively. For LC-MS/MS, sample preparation involved an ultrafiltration followed by chromatography on an anion exchange column. The analysis by GC-MS/MS involved an extraction step, cleanup on a cation exchange column, and derivatization with heptafluorobutanol and trifluoroacetic acid anhydride. Both methods were newly developed for breast milk and are able to quantify glyphosate residues at concentrations as low as 1 ng/mL. The methods were applied to quantify glyphosate levels in 114 breast milk samples, which had been collected from August to September of 2015 in Germany. The mothers participated at their own request and thus do not form a representative sample. In none of the investigated samples were glyphosate residues above the limit of detection found.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1414-1421
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2016


  • breast milk
  • GC-MS/MS
  • glyphosate
  • LC-MS/MS
  • residues

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