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New Test Pinpoints Animal Antibiotic / August 18, 1999 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

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New Test Pinpoints Animal Antibiotic

By Linda McGraw
August 18, 1999

A new antibody developed and patented by Agricultural Research Service scientists quickly pinpoints a major antibiotic given to dairy cows and meat animals. ARS researchers further developed a new test, using this antibody, to detect the antibiotic Ceftiofur. Ceftiofur is used to treat mastitis in dairy cows and respiratory diseases in cattle, pigs, and poultry.

The federal Food and Drug Administration routinely screens milk, and USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service routinely checks meat products, to make sure they don’t exceed the tolerances for residues from antibiotics approved to treat animals. Currently, these agencies measure residues by using time-consuming laboratory analytical methods.

The antibody test is much quicker and easier than current chemical analyses. The test, with the ARS-patented antibody called CEFT-116, can detect Ceftiofur in the low-part-per million (ppm) range in hundreds of milk samples per day. Unlike chemical analyses, an antibody test requires very little clean up time.

The researchers envision that CEFT-116 can be used alone or incorporated in a test kit along with other antibodies. The advantage of developing an immunoassay kit is that it can be used in the field by the dairy and meat industries as a way to pre-screen their products for safety.

The antibody has been licensed to a company for incorporation into an immunoassay for measuring this antibiotic in milk.

Scientific contact: Larry H. Stanker, ARS Food and Feed Safety Research Unit, College Station, Texas, phone (409) 260-9484, fax (409) 260-9332, stanker@usda.tamu.edu.

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