The Department of Veterinary Drugs, Hormones and Contaminants at the Institute for Food Safety in Vienna analyses beta-lactam antibiotics in foodstuffs of animal origin and is also the National Reference Laboratory for these tests.
Regular participation in international inter-laboratory tests and in workshops held by the EU Reference Laboratory (CRL) responsible for antibiotics in Fougères (France) ensure the quality of the result and a constant further development of the analytical methods keeping them on the cutting edge of technology and research.
Beta-lactams are screened sensitively, quickly and cheaply using microbiological inhibitor tests. In the case of milk this is done using the Delvo-Test and for animal tissue (muscle, kidney, liver) using the STAR protocol, five-plate test (Screening Test for Antibiotic Residues).
Since the five-plate test (STAR protocol) is used to not only test beta-lactams but antibiotics from a whole variety of groups, a positive result generally leads to post-screening using the Charm II-Test and/or HPLC, in order to be able to allocate the antibacterial activity to one of the following groups of antibiotics: beta-lactams, macrolides, aminoglycosides, tetracyclines, quinolones or sulphonamides.
If in the case of milk, the Delvo-Test or in the case of animal tissue the Charm II-Test return a positive result for beta-lactams, a confirmation method using LC/MS is employed for the purpose of identification and quantification. This encompasses the following substances:
Penicillin G (Benzylpenicillin)
Penicillin V (Phenoxymethylpenicillin)
Cephapirin (Cefapirin) and its metabolite desacetyl cephapirin
Cefazolin (Cefazoline, Cephazoline)
Ceftiofur and its metabolite Desfuroylceftiofur
Screening test in animal tissue are conducted at the AGES Institutes for Veterinary Disease Control in Graz, Innsbruck, Linz and Mödling and at the State Institute for Veterinary Examinations in Klagenfurt.
Screening of milk, post-screening of animal tissue and confirmatory analyses in all matrices are carried out at the Department of Veterinary Drugs, Hormones and Contaminants at the Institute for Food Safety in Vienna.