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J Agric Food Chem. 2007 May 30;55(11):4610-6. Epub 2007 May 8.

Formation of tetracycline degradation products in chicken and pig meat under different thermal processing conditions.

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Institute for Food and Agriculture Research and Technology (IRTA), E-17121 Monells, Girona, Spain.


Tetracycline (TC) and 4-epitetracycline (4eTC) degradation, as well as anhydrotetracycline (ATC) and 4-epianhydrotetracycline (4eATC) formation, has been evaluated in thermally treated chicken breast, pig loin, and pig loin with added back-fat. Samples containing TC and 4eTC residues were submitted to microwave or boiling heating, extracted with a mixture of McIlvaine buffer/methanol (75:25), and analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography-diode array detection on a phenyl-hexyl reverse phase chromatographic column. The formation of ATC and 4eATC, as well as of two unidentified compounds, was described for the first time in edible meat samples submitted to mild thermal treatments, similar to those applied at home to cook foods. Degradation of TC and 4eTC and formation of ATC and 4eATC versus time of treatment fitted satisfactorily a first-order kinetic. Even if the potential toxic effects of these breakdown compounds should be further investigated, their formation in cooked meat should be taken into account when maximum residue limits are established.

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