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J Food Prot. 2007 Aug;70(8):1952-7.

Depletion study of enrofloxacin and its metabolite ciprofloxacin in edible tissues and feathers of white leghorn hens by liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry.

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Laboratory of Veterinary Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Sciences, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile.


To ensure delivery of safe foods to consumers, withdrawal times for drugs must be respected according to the maximum residual limits established by regulatory agencies. Because of availability and price, feather meal is currently incorporated into animal feed as a protein source for farm species. Few data are available on residual drugs in feathers from treated animals. A depletion study was performed with laying hens treated intramuscularly with 5% enrofloxacin (Enromic) at 10 mg/kg body weight over 3 days. Thirty-three birds were treated and slaughtered at different times between 6 and 216 h after treatment; and samples of muscle plus skin, liver, kidney, and feathers were collected. High-performance liquid chromatography coupled with a tandem mass spectrometry method was validated before sample analysis to determine the decision limit, detection capability, recovery, and precision. Liver was the edible tissue with the slowest drug depletion. A withdrawal time of 6 days was calculated based on European Union maximum residual limits (100 microg/kg). A withdrawal time of 9 days was calculated based on Japan maximum residual limits (10 microg/kg). Enrofloxacin plus ciprofloxacin concentrations in feathers remained high through all sampling periods. Thus, feathers from treated animals should not be fed to food-producing animals.

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