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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2014 Mar;21(5):3427-34. doi: 10.1007/s11356-013-2286-5. Epub 2013 Nov 17.

Daily ingestion of tetracycline residue present in pasteurized milk: a public health problem.

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  • 1Southwest State University of Bahia, Itapetinga, Bahia, Brazil,


The objective of this study was to evaluate (qualitatively and quantitatively) the occurrence of antibiotic residue in pasteurized milk in Brazil. Pasteurized milk samples (n = 252) were collected monthly from Nov. 2010-Oct. 2011 from 21 commercial establishments (brands). A screening test (Delvotest® SP-NT) was applied to those samples. In positive (n = 19) and/or suspect samples (n = 24), we quantified oxytetracycline (OTC) and tetracycline (TC) by high-performance liquid chromatography with diode array detector (HPLC-DAD). OTCs were detected in all positive samples and TCs in six. In the 24suspected samples, OTCs were detected in 23 and TCs were not found in 8. Of the milk brands evaluated (n = 21), the presence of antibiotic residue was not detected in 4; in the other brands, both positive and suspect samples were verified. Results indicate the presence of antibiotic residue above legal limits. According to actual milk consumption in Brazil (441 mL/kg BW/day), in only 9 of the 17 brands of milk with antibiotic residue, the estimated daily intake was at or less than the maximum recommended by the European Union. The screening test used was effective to identify the presence of antibiotic residue (OTC and TC), confirmed by HPLC-DAD. The OTC is the predominant antimicrobial used by dairy farmers. Ingestion of contaminated milk by OTC and TC can increase the resistance of microorganisms to antibiotics.

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