Eurofins is collaborating with AB SCIEX and Phenomenex to develop methods to analyze animal feed for the presence of antibiotic and fungicide residues.
The first output of this collaboration is an application for the analysis of nine antibiotics and four insecticides in poultry feeds, covering five different antibiotic drug classes.
The use of antibiotics as feed additives serves the primary function to protect animals from illness; however, these antibiotic residues are not always fully metabolized by the animal and can ultimately accumulate in the edible tissues of the animal, making their way into the food supply.
In addition, the potential impact of increasing human exposure to these antibiotics may contribute to an increase in populations of antibiotic-resistant micro-organisms (aka "super bugs"), resulting in less effective treatments when human illness occurs.
Insecticides and pesticides can also sometimes be found in animal feeds - either introduced from the crop used to create the feed (i.e. grains) or in the feeding pens where they are used to reduce insect contaminations.
Eurofins identified a need to ramp up testing for various chemical residues in animal feed, including feather meals - feeds made with chicken feathers - after banned antibiotic residues were found in some feed products.
Eurofins chose to work with AB SCIEX and Phenomenex as trusted partners for food safety testing.
"For a food testing lab, feeds are a notoriously challenging matrix to analyze," said John Reuther, President of Eurofins CAL, Eurofins' US Competence Center for Residue and Contaminant Analysis.
Reuther continued, "By taking a leadership role in the food testing community, we are delivering robust and reliable methods not only to improve the analysis of animal feed but also to provide the best solutions to help our customers in the food and feed industries effectively address the growing industry demands of improved product quality and safety. Working together with AB SCIEX and Phenomenex gives us the technological capabilities to successfully execute our residue test methods, which ultimately help protect the global food supply."
Feeds contain many ingredients and are often further supplemented with vitamins and nutrients, resulting in a complex sample that contains fats, proteins, antimicrobials, binders, preservatives, vitamins and carbohydrates.
This often interferes with the targeted compounds of interest, reducing the quality of results. The unique sensitivity and fast polarity switching of AB SCIEX mass spectrometers enable such methods to more easily deal with the challenges of analyzing so many contaminants in feed.
AB SCIEX, which has been developing food testing methods for more than a decade, and Phenomenex, which supports method development and optimization through their expert Phenologix team, are working together with Eurofins to improve the accuracy of results at the lowest possible levels of detection in these increasingly complex mixtures.
"Leading food testing companies, such as Eurofins, choose to work with AB SCIEX because of our deep knowledge base in analyzing complex food samples and developing next-generation, food contaminant testing solutions," said Vincent Paez, Senior Director of Food & Environmental Business, AB SCIEX.
Paez continued, "Given the challenges of the difficult matrix that animal feeds present, we are utilizing the power of advanced technologies, including QTRAP® LC/MS/MS technology, to assist in producing high-quality, reliable results."
Optimized sample preparation and chromatographic media and methods, Phenomenex's strengths, also play a key role in achieving reliable and reproducible results for the accurate quantitation of residues in complex matrices such as feeds.
"This collaboration is an ideal application of Phenomenex's innovative sample prep and chromatographic solutions, including core-shell technology, for the analysis of large numbers of samples with highly repeatable results," said Serena Lazzaro, Food Quality and Safety Product Manager, Phenomenex. "We have a number of products specialized for identifying residues and contaminants in complex mixtures, which we can bring to this collaboration with Eurofins."