This study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of seven decontamination processes in reducing the pesticide mixture load of six insecticides (quinalphos, profenophos, ethion, lambda-cyhalothrin, imidacloprid, and acetamiprid) from chili (Capsicum annuum L.). In the control treatment, the pesticide residues were extracted without following any decontamination procedure. The extraction of the insecticides from chili was initiated after 48 h of pesticide mixture spray and was done using the QuEChERS (quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe) method. The quantitative analysis of four insecticides, namely quinalphos, profenophos, ethion, and lambda-cyhalothrin, was done by coupled gas chromatography–electron capture detection and that of imidacloprid and acetamiprid by high-performance liquid chromatography–UV detection. The results depicted reduction of pesticide residues in all the decontamination treatments compared with the control, although it varied for different insecticides. Solutions of 1 and 5% NaCl and 5% CH3COOH served as efficient decontaminants in removal of quinalphos, profenophos, ethion, and lambda-cyhalothrin residues from chili to ca. 90%, whereas for imidacloprid and acetamiprid there was a mild decontamination only (33.33 to 52.44%). The solutions of 5% NaHCO3 and 0.01% KMnO4 were effective only in removing lambda-cyhalothrin residues from the chili crop, but for all other pesticides the decontamination was not much pronounced.

  • Chili has high surface contamination due to repeated application of pesticides.

  • Decontamination of chili can be done using common household chemicals.

  • Detoxification of chili makes it safe for consumption.

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