Chromatographic Analysis of Antibiotic Materials in Food
by Bobbitt, D. R.; Ng, K. W.
The monitoring of food materials for antibiotic residues is an area of increasing concern and importance due to the potential impact on human health. Large-scale screening applications require methods that are rapid. accurate, provide low detection limits and are free from interference. The problem is further complicated by the wide range of chemical functionalities and modes of operation exhibited by the antibiotic materials of physiological significance in use today. As demonstrated, chromatographic methods provide many of the advantages necessary for screening applications. Judicious choice of sample preparation method, separation mode and detection strategy can provide significant immunity from problems associated with the food matrix. Gas chromatography can provide extremely high separation efficiencies, however, only a limited number of antibiotic compounds are inherently volatile enough for direct analysis by gas chromatography. Derivatization to enhance the volatility of the antibiotic is one approach to overcome this limitation. Among the methods available, reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography is used extensively for the analysis of many antibiotic systems as it does not require derivatization and it combines relatively high separation efficiencies with low detection limits. The diverse group of properties exhibited by the antibiotic materials in use today suggests that the choice of detection strategy is a key component in the successful development of an analysis technique. Derivatization of the antibiotic material is frequently used to add either a fluorogenic of chromogenic moiety to the antibiotic compound to enhance detection. Derivatization procedures suffer from several limitations which are problematic when making measurements in complicated food matrices. Among the different detection modes ultilized for antibiotic analysis, polarimetric detection has the potential to provide extremely selective detection of most antibiotic materials, and this selective response can minimize many of the constraints placed upon the separation system by the sample matrix. Although many of the separation modes used for antibiotic analysis are well developed, separations based on capillary electrophoretic methods have much potential in the field of antibiotic analysis. Future investigations are needed to extend the generality of these techniques and expand their use into the field of food analysis.