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Minilab can quickly identify antibiotic residues in milk, before it leaves the barn
Date:5/7/2010

No one wants antibiotic residues in their milk. But antibiotics are sometimes used even in the dairy barn. The routine tests conducted nowadays take hours to produce a result and do not test for all of the typical antibiotics. This gap can now be closed, thanks to a fully automated minilab developed by scientists from the TUM in cooperation with the LMU Muenchen and gwk Praezisionstechnik GmbH.

Even at the best of farms, including organic farms, dairy cows can fall ill and require antibiotics. As drug residues in milk may be harmful, milk from sick animals must be kept out of the milk production chain. Meanwhile the European Community has established maximum residue values to protect consumers. However, the current method of testing for antibiotics in milk is laborious and fragmentary. Within the European dairy industry overall, loss of production and sanitation of dairy products due to milk contaminated with antibiotics add up to a loss of more than 200 million euros per year.

Dairies attempt to counteract the risk by conducting spot checks. Any milk sample that inhibits the growth of test bacteria comes under initial suspicion and is then tested on the basis of more extensive analyses. The disadvantage is that it takes hours and is very expensive to do so. If drug residues are not found until late in the production process, the lost output and disposal costs can reach business-critical dimensions. Companies in the dairy industry are therefore searching for a fast and simple way of establishing the presence of virtually all antibiotics that may be used on dairy cattle.

With this aim in mind, scientists from the Chair for Analytical Chemistry at the TUM and the Chair for Hygiene and Technology at the LMU developed a glass chip and an analysis unit that can identify the presence of residues from one or more of the 14 most important antibiotics with certainty and in parallel. To do this the scientists use what's known as an antigen/an
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Contact: Andreas Battenberg
battenberg@zv.tum.de
49-892-891-2890
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Source:Eurekalert

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