Med. Weter. 68 (11), 650-655, 2012

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Gajda A., Posyniak A., Żmudzki J., Różańska H.
Occurrence of tetracyclines in tissues and food of animal origin: causes and consequences
Tetracycline antibiotics (TCs) are widely used in veterinary medicine for the treatment of a variety of bacterial infections in food-producing animals. They are commonly used because of their broad-spectrum activity, ranging from Gram-positive to Gram-negative bacteria, economic advantages and some favorable pharmacokinetic properties. Residual tetracyclines may be present in food of animal origin and have harmful effects on consumers, such as allergic reactions, liver damage, gastrointestinal disturbance and the spread of resistant bacterial strains. In some cases, the inadequate withdrawal time or inappropriate use of TCs can cause the occurrence of these compound residues in the tissues of slaughtered animals. To protect consumers and ensure food safety, the European Commission set Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for tetracyclines in muscles, liver, kidney, milk and eggs, except for doxycycline, which is not used in laying hens and lactating cows, and hence there is no MRL for this compound in eggs and milk. In Poland and other European Union countries there are official national programmes for controlling the occurrence of TCs, as well as all other antibacterials, in food of animal origin. In this paper, pharmacological properties and the main reasons for and consequences of the presence of TCs in food are presented. For the measurement of TC residues, microbiological assays are commonly used, but they are non-specific. This paper also describes a precise chromatographic method for the detection of TCs in tissues and products of animal origin.
Key words: teracyclines, pharmacokinetics, method, residues, results, consequences