Enzyme immunoassay for semicarbazide - The nitrofuran metabolite and food contaminant

Kevin M Cooper, Zhanna Samsonova, L. Plumpton, Christopher Elliott, Diarmuid Kennedy

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85 Citations (Scopus)


Semicarbazide (SEM), the marker residue for the banned nitrofuran veterinary antibiotic nitrofurazone (NFZ), has been detected regularly in foods (47% of recent nitrofuran EU Rapid Alerts involve SEM). However, the validity of SEM as a definitive marker for NFZ has been undermined by SEM arising from other sources including azodicarbonamide, a plastics blowing agent and flour treatment additive. An inexpensive screening test for SEM in food matrices is needed-all SEM testing currently uses expensive LC-MS/MS instrumentation. We now report the first production of antibodies against derivatised SEM. A novel carboxyphenyl SEM derivative was used to raise a polyclonal antibody that has been incorporated into a semi-quantitative microtitre plate ELISA, validated according to the criteria set out in Commission Decision 2002/657/EC, for use with chicken muscle. The antibody is highly specific for derivatised SEM, cross-reactivity being 1.7% with NFZ and negligible with a wide range of other nitrofurans and poultry drugs. Samples are derivatised with o-nitrobenzaldehyde and simultaneously protease digested before extraction by cation exchange SPE. The ELISA has a SEM detection capability (CC beta) of 0.25 mu g kg(-1) when a threshold of 0.21 mu g kg(-1) is applied to the selection of samples for confirmation (lowest observed 0.25 mu g kg(-1) fortified sample, n = 20), thus satisfying the EU nitrofurans' minimum required performance limit of 1 mu g kg(-1). N-FZ-incurred muscles (12) containing SEM at 0.5-5.0 mu g kg(-1) by LC-MS/MS, all screened positive by this ELISA protocol which is also applicable to egg and chicken liver. (C) 2007 Elsevier BN. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-71
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Environmental Chemistry


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