TRIO Method for Detection of Beta-Lactams, Sulfonamides, and Tetracyclines in Raw Commingled Cows' Milk

Robert S Salter, R J Markovsky, D W Douglas, S J Saul, A C Tran, D R Legg, J A Schwartz, D M Conaway, L W McRobbie, Emily Kalinowski, Mary Bulthaus
Journal of AOAC International 2020 September 1, 103 (5): 1366-1377
A qualitative 3 min one-step assay for detecting beta-lactam, sulfonamide, and tetracycline antibiotics was validated following milk screening test guidelines developed by FDA-CVM, AOAC-RI, and IDF. The validated 90% detection levels with 95% confidence were: penicillin G 2 part per billion (ppb); amoxicillin 4 ppb; ampicillin 9 ppb; ceftiofur plus metabolites 50 ppb; cloxacillin 9 ppb; cephapirin 15 ppb; sulfadimethoxine 8 ppb; sulfamethazine 9 ppb; chlortetracycline 34 ppb; oxytetracycline 53 ppb; and tetracycline 42 ppb. Detection levels were lower than U.S. and Canadian allowable limits for milk and were consistent with most European Maximum Residue Limits. Tests of raw commingled cows' milk indicated a low positive error rate of <0.3% with no interferences demonstrated by 1.08 MM/mL somatic cells, Gram-positive or Gram-negative bacteria < 300 K/mL, freeze/thawing, or non-targeted drugs. Detection of incurred residues were similar to, or more sensitive to, fortified samples. Some cross reactivity across drug families occurred in interference studies and therefore initial positive samples should be confirmed with drug family specific screening methods. The National Conference of Interstate Milk Shipments approval as a bulk tank/tanker screening test was completed in three stages for each drug family, including a tetracycline confirmation procedure to target U.S. tolerance levels. Detection and robustness were found to be appropriate for multiple countries' regulatory requirements for screening tests. The method development, validation, and approval was intended to diversify and increase the verification tools for the control of the major antibiotic drug families used in managing cows' health and welfare.

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