The widespread use of antibiotics in human health care and livestock has led to traceable amounts of drugs that end up in food products. Long-term consumption may cause health problems, but it is difficult to analyze more than a few antibiotics at one time because they have different chemical properties. Now, ACS researchers write ‘ Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry They developed a way to measure 77 antibiotics simultaneously in a variety of foods.
Antibiotics can be present in trace amounts in meat, eggs, and milk if the animals have not been withdrawn from the drugs for a sufficient period of time before the products are collected. Also, antibiotics can build up in grains, vegetables and fruits from compost fertilizers or treated wastewater applied to crops. Consuming these foods over an extended period of time can lead to an increase in antibiotic resistance to bacterial pathogens or to an imbalance in the gut microbiome. However, most previous methods of monitoring antibiotics in foods had limited to a few compounds simultaneously, usually within a single class of antibiotics with similar chemical structures and properties. Other methods have analyzed several antibiotics in only one food type, such as egg or milk. Yujie Ben and his colleagues wanted to develop a cost-effective and time-effective method that could detect a wide range of antibiotics in different types of foods.
Researchers added trace amounts of 81 antibiotics from seven classes to plant samples and tested 20 different methods of extracting drugs from food. Only one extraction process, which involved treating freeze-dried and homogenized food samples with an acidified acetonitrile solution and a mixture of magnesium sulfate and sodium acetate, allowed the researchers to isolate 77 antibiotics. After confirming that their method was sensitive and accurate with the spiked antibiotics in many foods, the team applied it to purchased samples of wheat flour, lamb, eggs, milk, cabbage and bananas, and discovered a total of 10 antibiotics. One of them, Roxithromycin, was detected in trace amounts in all 6 types of foods. The researchers say the new method should help understand, monitor and regulate antibiotic levels in foods.
The authors acknowledge the funding support provided by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province, China, and the pioneering talents of the Guangdong Provincial Program and the country’s Environmental Protection Principal Laboratory for the integrated control of surface and groundwater pollution in the South. University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China.
A summary of the paper will be available on January 27 at 8 AM ET here: http://pubs.
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