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Vet World. 2018 Feb;11(2):167-171. doi: 10.14202/vetworld.2018.167-171. Epub 2018 Feb 10.

Effect of temperature (cooking and freezing) on the concentration of oxytetracycline residue in experimentally induced birds.

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Department of Veterinary Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria.



The objective of this study was to determine the effect of varying temperatures (different cooking methods and freezing) on the concentration of oxytetracycline (OTC) residues in tissues of broiler birds.

Materials and Methods:

Fifty, 5-week-old birds were purchased and acclimatized for 3 weeks while being fed antibiotic-free feed and water. Four birds were then tested for residue and in the absence; the remaining birds were injected intramuscularly with oxytetracycline at its therapeutic dose. Muscle and liver samples of the treated birds were harvested and checked for OTC residues before subjecting them to boiling, microwaving, and roasting. The three plate test was used for the residue detection.


OTC was detected at both pH 6.0 and pH 7.2 but not detected at pH 8.0. Roasting and boiling significantly reduced the concentration of oxytetracycline in muscle by 53.6% and 69.6%, respectively, at pH 6.0, microwaving reduced the concentration by 49.1% but was not statistically significant. The same pattern was followed at pH 7.2 with reduction of 34.3%, 53.2%, and 67.7% for microwaved, roasted, and boiled. For the liver tissues, there was a significant reduction in the concentration for both pH: 6.0 (57.75%, 79.75%, and 89%; pH 7.2 (48.06%, 79.6%, and 88.79%) for boiled, microwaved, and roasted samples. Boiling had a greater reduction effect for muscle samples while roasting had a greater reduction in liver samples at both pHs. Freezing at -10°C had no effect on the concentration of OTC even after 9 days.


The significant reduction of OTC concentration by cooking indicates that consumers may not be at risk of the effects of OTC residues in meat, but microwaving meat may not reduce the concentration below the maximum residue limit if the initial concentration is very high. Therefore, routine monitoring of drug residues in farms and abattoirs is still advocated.


antimicrobials; cooking methods; drug residue; oxytetracycline

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