…with Dr Ralf Löscher,
Vice President Europe LECO B.V.
eFLi: Hello Mr. Löscher. Very nice to meet you for this interview
Löscher: Hello Mr. Kützemeier. Yes, welcome to LECO in Mönchengladbach
at our sales and service office.
Mr. Löscher, you`ve now been with LECO, apart from a very
brief period away, since 2000 when you started in what was
then a relatively new field for the company, the ”Separation
As European Vice President, I would assume that the “Separation
Science” division has a special place in your heart. How
is LECO active in this field?
In the field of chromatographic separation science technology, LECO
offers GC coupled to time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometry (MS). This
includes one-dimensional as well as two-dimensional chromatography
(GCxGC), which increases chromatographic resolution and sensitivity.
In the food sector, we are quite a speciality provider, as the market
has up until now been driven by single and triple quadrupole MS
In some application areas however, our instrumentation and technology
can supplement or upgrade the traditional instrumentation. A
good example is MOSH / MOAH residues analysis (mineral oil hydrocarbons
in e.g. Recycling packaging and food). Here, LECO GCxGCTOF
can help to clarify and correct possible false-positive results in
In addition, our latest technology is competitively priced in relation
to triple quadrupole alternatives. Furthermore, GC-TOF-MS technology
is basically unbeatable for the analysis of residues in complex matrices
such as teas, spices, oily products, but also baby food.
A key factor for reliable results in these difficult matrices is the
robust, open ion source designs of our TOF-MS which enable excellent
sensitivity alongside high chromatographic and mass spectral resolution.
If we take the determination of pesticide residues in food. This typically
uses the QuEChERS sample preparation method for extraction
(Quick, Easy, Cheap, Efficient, Robust, Safe), which normally requires
the application of large volume sample injections to compensate for
the typically low matrix concentration of analyte residues. Here, our
open ion source performs excellently without problems.
With our analysis, we consistently achieve the required recovery
rates for target compounds (i.e pesticides) and due to the enhanced
data output from TOF-MS, we can also investigate the same chroma-
The term “dioxins,“ is related to two categories of differently
chlorinated compounds consisting of 75 polychlorinated
dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDD) and 135 polychlorinated
dibenzofuranes (PCDF). Dioxins (PCDD/F) have similar
chemical, physical and toxic characteristics. They are lipophilic
compounds ubiqitously spread in the environment
and therefore migrate into foods. Dioxins accumulate via
feeding stuffs in the fat tissues of animals and humans.
Highly toxic and at the same time persistent are 17 congeners,
which are chlorinated in the 2,3,7,8-position. The
congener with the highest toxisticy is the 2,3,7,8-TCDD, the
tograms for non-target compounds with the aid of retention index and
mass spectral libraries. Imagine the benefits of using this type of instrumentation
to collect such rich data sets routinely (for example looking
back to the Nitrofen – East German pesticide scandal a few years ago).
Applications that traditionally were approached as target analyses
are increasingly being replaced by non-target approaches.
Please explain the major differences.
Just to name a few examples, foods can contain one or several or hundreds
of different pesticides, residues of veterinary drugs, mycotoxins
or residues from packaging or manufacturing process. For many of
these, regulatory inclusion limits have been established by law, but not
for all, partly because they are not considered as hazardous or relevant
or simply because they are unknown. The challenging question is why
nobody is searching for these substances although it would be possible
by using TOF-MS analysis approaches which are not limited to just
“Target-Compound,” identification and quantification.
LECO Vice President Europe
Until 1995 studies of biology at the
Universities Bochum and Freiburg
1995-2000 Sales and Key Account
Manager North-Rhine Westfalia at
2000-2008 LECO Instruments
Mönchengladbach, Sales and
Marketing Manager Separation
Sales Manager, GERSTEL,
As of 2011 Vice President
Europe, LECO, Geleen, NL