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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 33 No. 1, p. 250-256
    Received: Mar 20, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): kkumar@soils.umn.edu
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Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay for Ultratrace Determination of Antibiotics in Aqueous Samples

  1. Kuldip Kumar *a,
  2. Anita Thompsonb,
  3. Ashok K. Singha,
  4. Yogesh Chandera and
  5. Satish C. Guptaa
  1. a Department of Veterinary Diagnostic Medicine, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108
    b Department of Biological Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706


Two commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kits that are commonly used for tylosin or tetracycline residues in meat and milk were adapted for ultratrace analysis of these antibiotics in surface and ground waters. These two antibiotics are commonly fed to swine, turkeys, and cattle at subtherapeutic doses for growth promotion purposes. Both ELISA techniques were found to be highly sensitive and selective for the respective antibiotics with detection limits of 0.10 and 0.05 μg L−1 for tylosin and tetracycline, respectively. The recovery of both tylosin and tetracycline from spiked samples of lake waters, runoff samples, soil saturation extracts, and nanopure water was close to 100%. Tetracycline ELISA was highly specific for tetracycline and chlortetracycline but not for other forms of tetracycline (oxytetracycline, demeclocycline, and doxycycline). Analysis of a few liquid swine manure samples by liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC–MS) showed lower concentrations for chlortetracycline as compared with concentrations obtained using ELISA. However, the concentrations of tylosin from ELISA were comparable with that of LC–MS. The lower concentrations of chlortetracycline obtained by LC–MS in manure samples indicate the presence of other similar or transformed compounds that were detected by ELISA but not determined by LC–MS. These results indicate that both ELISA kits can be useful tools for low-cost screening of tylosin, tetracycline, and chlortetracycline in environmental waters. Furthermore, both ELISA procedures are rapid, portable, and easily adaptable for testing of multiple samples simultaneously.

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