State-of-the-art analytical methods to identify more than 70 different molecules: a valuable contribution to companies and surveillance bodies


A “multiclass” method which, thanks to the combination of liquid chromatography and high resolution mass spectrometry, is able to identify, with a single analysis, 73 antibiotic molecules. The system, developed by Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale, Teramo, has been employed in detection of antibiotic residues in eggs.


In this study, published in the scientific journal Separations, researchers at IZSAM’s Bromatology and Residues Department developed and applied an analytical method for the determination of antibiotics in eggs intended for the market. The eggs, collected over a three-year period (2018-2021) in 119 farms over almost all Italian regions, including islands, enabled an accurate assessment of the situation in the country.


“The analytical method we developed - Dr. Giorgio Saluti, Bromatology and Residues Department, first author of the paper, says – can search more than 70 molecules with antibiotic action, covering the vast majority of the substances most used in farms. The aim is to increase efficiency, speed and completeness of the analyses. On the basis of the data collected in this phase of implementation, we can say that Italian situation is reassuring and falls well within EU parameters”


The use of antibiotics in livestock farming is receiving increasing attention from both health authorities and citizens, especially with regard to the possible development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a worldwide concern, as it can reduce effectiveness of one of the main weapons to fight bacterial infections. European Commission set maximum limits for antibiotic residues in food of animal origin, including eggs.


"The interest about antibiotic residues in food is very high - Dr. Giampiero Scortichini, Head of the Bromatology and Residues Department, comments - because their consumption can lead to allergies as well as antibiotic resistance. We are observing a general decline in their use at European level, certainly a positive sign. Our method, thanks to its speed of execution and the high number of substances it is able to identify, is a contribution both to manufacturing companies, supporting their production processes, and to institutions, for ever more careful and accurate surveillance ".


Giorgio Saluti
Giorgio Saluti


Saluti, G., Colagrande, M.N., Castellani, F., Ricci, M., Diletti, G., Scortichini, G. Survey on Antibiotic Residues in Egg Samples in Italy. Separations 2021, 8, 148.



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