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.
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