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Open access

Barbara Woźniak, Sebastian Witek, Iwona Matraszek-Żuchowska and Jan Żmudzki


A rapid liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry method was developed and validated to detect and confirm five thyreostatic drugs: tapazole, thiouracil, methylthiouracil, propylthiouracil, and phenylthiouracil in animal feeding stuff samples. Thyreostats were extracted from feed with methanol, and then degreasing of the extract with petroleum ether was performed, followed by the derivatisation of the compounds with 3-iodobenzylbromide in basic medium (pH 8.0). The derivatives were extracted with diethyl ether and analysed by gradient elution on a Poroshell 120-EC C18 column with triple quadrupole MS detection with turbo spray source in positive ionisation mode. The method was validated in accordance with the Commission Decision 2002/657/EC. For validation level of 10 ļig kg-1, the recovery ranged from 82% to 97.5% for all examined compounds. The repeatability and reproducibility did not exceed the limit of 20% for all analytes. The linearity was good for all thyreostats in the whole range of tested concentrations, as proved by the correlation coefficients greater than 0.99. The decision limits (CCa) ranged from 1.63 ļig kg-1 to 3.95 ļig kg-1, whereas the detection capabilities (CCß) ranged from 2.74 ļig kg-1 to 6.73 ļig kg-1. The developed analysis is sensitive and robust, and therefore useful for quantification and confirmation of thyreostats in residue control programme.

Open access

Barbara Woźniak, Sebastian Witek, Iwona Matraszek-Żuchowska, Alicja Kłopot and Andrzej Posyniak


Introduction: The present study is a comprehensive overview of the natural occurrence of 17β-oestradiol and testosterone in serum of cattle in Poland. Material and Methods: The serum samples (n = 826) were collected from cattle within five years. The samples were examined for the presence of oestradiol and testosterone using ELISA or gas chromatography with mass spectrometry. Results: In 98 samples (24%) 17β-oestradiol was detected above decision limits of applied methods, including five samples over the recommended concentration of 0.1 μg L-1. Of the serum samples taken from cows (≤18 months of age), 95 and 99 percentiles of the animals had 17β-oestradiol concentration below 0.027 and 0.086 μg L-1 and of samples from cows over 18 months of age - below 0.059 and 0.125 μg L-1 respectively. Calculated values for bulls (≤18 months of age) were 0.025 and 0.034 μg L-1 and for the animals older than 18 months of age - 0.035 and 0.041 μg L-1. The natural presence of testosterone was detected in 201 serum samples (48.7%). According to the obtained data, 95% and 99% of cows (≤18 months of age) serum samples had testosterone concentration below 0.05 and 0.23 μg L-1 and the animals over 18 months of age - 0.30 and 0.49 μg L-1, respectively. For bulls these values did not depend on the age of the animals and were in the ranges of 5 - 6.3 μg L-1 (95%) and 11.4 - 12.1 μg L-1 (99%). Conclusion: Our study showed that the threshold values for these hormones in plasma of cattle designated years ago are correct, but they need to be supplemented for animals older than 18 months.

Open access

Barbara Woźniak, Iwona Matraszek-Żuchowska, Sebastian Witek and Andrzej Posyniak


Introduction: In the European Union the use of steroid growth promoters is prohibited under Council Directive 96/22/EC. For effective control of illegal use of natural steroids, highly sensitive analytical methods are required, because sex hormones can be present in very low concentrations in biological samples. The aim of the study was to develop a confirmatory method for the detection of testosterone in bovine serum at ppt level.

Material and Methods: 17β-testosterone and internal standards of 17β-testosterone-d2 were extracted from serum samples with a mixture of tert-butyl methyl ether/petroleum ether and were directly analysed by an LC/MS/MS on QTRAP 5500 instrument with a TurboIon-Spray source operating in a positive ionisation mode. Chromatographic separation was achieved on the analytical column Inertsil® ODS-3 with an isocratic elution using mobile phase consisting of acetonitrile, methanol, and water. Method validation has been carried out in accordance with the Commission Decision 2002/657/EC.

Results: The method was characterised by good recovery (82%) and precision (R.S.D 17 %). Decision limit (CCα) and detection capability (CCβ) was 0.05 μg L−1 and 0.09 μg L−1 respectively. The method met the criteria set out in Commission Decision 2002/657/EC for the purpose of confirmation in terms of retention time and ion ratio in the whole range of its application.

Conclusions: The developed method is specific and sensitive, suitable for measuring the natural level of testosterone in blood of cattle and for use in routine control programme for the detection of this hormone in bovine serum.

Open access

Barbara Woźniak, Sebastian Witek, Jan Żmudzki and Alicja Kłopot


Natural occurrence of thiouracil in bovine and swine urine in Poland was investigated. Under the national residue control programme, 537 urine samples were tested. In 77 samples (14.3%) thiouracil was detected above decision limit CCα (0.91 μg L-1), including eight samples over the recommended concentration of 10 μg L-1. Of the bovine urine samples, 95 and 99 percentiles have thiouracil concentration below 4.50 and 14.85 μg L-1 ,and of porcine samples below 2.35 and 6.80 μg L-1, respectively.

Open access

Iwona Matraszek-Żuchowska, Barbara Woźniak, Alicja Kłopot, Sebastian Witek, Katarzyna Sielska and Andrzej Posyniak


Introduction: Studies of anabolic hormone residues in the tissues of slaughter animals have been carried out in Poland for more than 25 years. During the period of 2011 to 2015, a total of 35 387 samples from different animal species were tested in the National Residue Control Programme for the presence of residues of compounds that cause hormonal effects, as listed in Annex 1 of Directive 96/23/EC.

Material and Methods: The research was conducted in the National Reference Laboratory and eight regional laboratories in departments of veterinary hygiene located throughout the country. Urine, muscle tissue, serum, kidney fat, and drinking water were the targeted matrices. Test methods based on instrumental techniques such as gas and liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry were applied, as well as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA).

Results: The concentration of detected hormones exceeded the decision limits in 30 samples, the consequence of which was 41 non-compliances with current applicable criteria. The hormones found present pseudo-endogenous (nortestosterone and boldenone) only, while synthetic hormones were not identified.

Conclusion: The non-compliant findings constitute a small percentage (0.085%) of the five-year analysis compilation. On this basis the related food produced in Poland can be accepted as safe for human consumption with regard to the hormone residues tested.

Open access

Barbara Woźniak, Iwona Matraszek-Żuchowska, Katarzyna Sielska, Sebastian Witek, Andrzej Posyniak, Krzysztof Niemczuk and Jan Żmudzki



In the European Union, the use of thyreostatic drugs for fattening slaughter animals has been banned since 1981 under Council Directive 81/602/EEC. For protection of consumer health against unwanted residues and in compliance with Directive 96/23, each EU country must monitor thyreostats in samples of animal origin. This paper presents the results of research on thyreostatic residues carried out in Poland in 2011–2017.

Material and Methods

The material for testing was urine (n = 3,491), drinking water (n = 127), and muscle samples (n = 349) officially collected by Veterinary Sanitary Inspectors in slaughterhouses and farms throughout the country in accordance with the national residue control plan. The samples were examined for the presence of tapazole, thiouracil, methylthiouracil, propylthiouracil, and phenylthiouracil using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry through an accredited method.


In four bovine and three porcine urine samples, the permissible thiouracil concentration was exceeded. In one sample of porcine urine, methyl- and propylthiouracil were found. The presence of thiouracil and its derivatives in urine samples is most likely due to feeding animals diet containing cruciferous plants.


The results of research indicate that thyreostats are not used for anabolic purposes in slaughter animals in Poland.