The identification of potential alternative biomarkers of nitrofurazone abuse in animal derived food products

J.V. Sarnsonova, Alastair Douglas, Kevin M Cooper, Diarmuid Kennedy, Christopher Elliott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Semicarbazide (SEM) was considered to be a characteristic protein-bound side-chain metabolite of the banned veterinary drug nitrofurazone and used as a marker of nitrofurazone abuse. It was recently discovered that SEM can arise in food from sources other than nitrofurazone. This uncertainty over the source of SEM may be overcome if alternative markers specific to tissue-bound nitrofurazone residues can be determined. The structure of nitrofurazone metabolites in vivo and particular proteins to which they are bound are not known. These proteins with altered structure due to the presence of the drug metabolites can be considered as potential alternative biomarkers of nitrofurazone abuse. The proteins implicated in the in vivo binding of nitrofurazone were separated and identified. A crude mixture of proteins extracted from the liver of a rat treated with the drug was separated using a series of different techniques such as preparative isoelectric focusing and size exclusion HPLC. Multiple fractions were assayed by LC-MS/MS to detect the presence of SEM. The proteins containing SEM residues were identified by peptide mass mapping using trypsin digestion and MALDI-TOF. The first protein identified as containing high concentration of SEM was albumin. It was also shown that low molecular weight species within a protein mixture whose main constituent was glutathione S-transferase contained a high concentration of SEM. The chemical composition of these components is under investigation. Preliminary data suggest the SEM forms part of a nitrofurazone metabolite conjugated to glutathione. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1548-1554
Number of pages7
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Toxicology


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