An illegal hormone used to promote milk production could soon be easy to detect in dairy herds, thanks to scientists in the Netherlands.
The hormone – recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST) – is licensed in some countries, but, despite having no influence on human health, its use is banned in Europe due to concerns over the health and welfare of treated animals.
The direct detection of rbST is hindered by its similarity to the natural growth hormone produced by the animals, bST. Its blood serum concentration fluctuates significantly, and both bST and rbST are present at low concentrations. Measurements by methods such as liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry also suffer from a small detection window because of the short half-life of rbST in the blood.
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Nathalie Gabriëlle Esther Smits, Susann Ludwig, Grisha Van der Veer, Monique Bremer and Michel W F Nielen
Analyst, 2012, Accepted Manuscript