Screening and confirmation of steroids and nitroimidazoles in urine, blood, and food matrices: Sample preparation methods and liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometric separations

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Abstract

Veterinary drugs containing synthetic anabolic steroid and nitroimidazole active agents are not allowed for their applications in livestock of the European Union (EU). This paper presents analyses of twelve selected steroids and six nitroimidazole antibiotics at low levels (1.56 μg/L–4.95 μg/L and 0.17 μg/kg–2.14 μg/kg, respectively) in body fluids and egg incurred samples. Analyses involved clean-up procedures, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) separation, and tandem mass spectrometric screening and confirmatory methods. Target steroids and nitroimidazoles in samples were cleaned by two independent supported liquid extraction and solid phase extraction procedures. Separation of the selected compounds was conducted on Kinetex XB C-18 HPLC column using gradient elution. The screening methods utilised supported liquid extraction that enabled fast and cost effective clean-up. The confirmatory methods were improved by extending the number of matrices and compounds, and by introducing an isotope dilution mass spectrometry for nitroimidazoles. The new methods were validated according to the recommendation of the European Union Reference Laboratories and the performance characteristics evaluated met fully the criteria. The methods were applied to incurred samples in the proficiency tests. The obtained results of Z-scores demonstrated the applicability of developed protocols of the methods to real samples. The confirmatory methods were applied to the national monitoring program and natural contamination of prednisolone could be detected in urine at low concentration in few samples.

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