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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Fleischer, Kiersten
item Schmidt, Gabi
item Rumsey, Theron
item Fritsche, Sonja
item Steinhart, Hans
item Kahl, Stanislaw - Stass
item Elsasser, Theodore

Submitted to: European Food Research and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/15/2003
Publication Date: 12/5/2002
Citation: Fleischer, K., Schmidt, G., Rumsey, T., Fritsche, S., Steinhart, H., Kahl, S., Elsasser, T. 2003. Comparison of steroid hormone patterns in different fat tissues of synovex-s-implanted and control steers. European Food Research and Technology. 216:99-203.

Interpretive Summary: Recent concerns over drug and hormone contamination of meat from animals treated with steroid growth enhancers have prompted many European countries to ban the use of steroids in food animals as well as banned the import of meat from countries where the use of steroids is legal. While many regulatory actions have been taken to block the use of these hormone products in food animals because of potential human health concerns, there are few data that directly address how much hormone remains in the meat of hormone-treated animals. A study was conducted to measure the amounts and patterns of hormones in the meat of hormone-treated and non-treated cattle. Fat was the tissue of choice for the determinations because the hormones of interest, the steroids, are more readily taken up into fat, stored longer, and released more slowly that the water-protein part of meat, and thus fat is a more sensitive marker for the effects of the hormone treatments. The results of the study demonstrated that only concentrations of progesterone were elevated in the fat of treated cattle over those measured in control animals. In particular estrogens were not detected and androgens and their precursors and metabolites were not different between treatments indicating that the production and regulation of hormone metabolism of hormones is not affected by steroid treatment. The data imply that when properly used in food cattle, steroid hormone treatments like Synovex-S may not pose a significant risk to increase most steroid hormone levels in meat.

Technical Abstract: Four different adipose tissues (kidney fat, heart fat, fat over rib, and tailhead fat) of six control and seven Synovex-S (containing progesterone and 17b-estradiol benzoate) -implanted steers were investigated for their profiles of progesterone, androgens, and their precursors and metabolites. The steers were implanted with Synovex-S and slaughtered after 84 days. The tissues represent different bovine fat depot fats. Kidney and heart fat deposit at an earlier stage of development than the other subcutaneous. Androgens, their precursors, and progesterone were analyzed by GC-MS. Estrogens could not be detected by GC-MS. Resulting hormone patterns were compared between treatments and fat depots. The statistical Kruskal-Wallis-H-test was used for comparisons. Adipose tissues showed similar hormone patterns. Only progesterone showed an increased concentration in the adipose tissue of implanted steers. The steroid patterns did not show the imfluence of exogenous steroid administration.

Last Modified: 05/27/2017
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