The detection of illicit growth promoter use during meat production within the European Union is reliant on residue testing which is a limiting factor on the number of animals which can be tested and consequently compromises the efficacy of testing procedures. The present study examined a novel detection strategy based on the profiling of plasma component concentrations in response to growth promoter administrations. Calves subjected to nortestosterone decanoate, 17 beta-oestradiol benzoate and dexamethasone were found to have altered urea, aminoterminal propeptide of type III procollagen and sex hormone binding globulin profiles in response to treatments. These findings demonstrate the potential of using the identification of perturbed profiles within a panel of biomarkers which cover a spectrum of biological activity to reveal growth promoter abuse.
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