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Qualitative Detection of Tetracycline Residues in Milk with a Luminescence-Based Microbial Method: The Effect of Milk Composition and Assay Performance in Relation to an Immunoassay and a Microbial Inhibition Assay

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Performance of Tet-Lux, a newly developed microbiological test for the detection of tetracycline residues in raw milk, based on tetracycline-controlled luminescence activation of the test bacteria, was evaluated in bovine milks with variable amounts of somatic cells, bacteria, fat, protein, and natural inhibitory compounds. The sensitivity of Tet-Lux was also compared to a commercially available tetracycline immunoassay (Snap, Idexx Laboratories Inc.) and to a microbial inhibition test (Delvotest SP, Gist-Brogades). There were slight differences in the luminescence signals between different milk samples, but no single factor could be pointed out to be responsible for them. There appeared to be a modest inverse relationship between luminescence and increasing fat and protein content. The amount of somatic cells, bacteria, and the natural inhibitors lysozyme and lactoferrin did not affect the luminescence response. The test fulfilled the sensitivity requirement specified by the European Union (maximum residue limit 100 ng/ml for tetracyclines). The Tet-Lux test was clearly more sensitive to all tetracyclines tested (oxytetracycline, tetracycline, chlortetracycline, doxycycline, demeclocycline, methacycline, minocycline) than Delvotest SP, and for five tetracyclines out of seven more sensitive than Snap. The test provides a fast, simple, and robust microbial method for the qualitative detection of tetracycline residues in milk.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Biotechnology, University of Turku, Tykistökatu 6A, FIN-20520 Turku, Finland

Publication date: July 1, 2000

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    The Journal of Food Protection (JFP) is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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