LC-MS/MS-based determination of chloramphenicol, thiamphenicol, florfenicol and florfenicol amine in poultry meat from the Punjab-Pakistan

A simple, reliable and sensitive liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry-based confirmatory method was redeveloped and validated for the simultaneous determination of chloramphenicol, thiamphenicol, florfenicol and florfenicol amine in chicken muscles. The analytes were extracted from minced chicken muscle with acetonitrile and ammoniated water mixture. A second extraction with ethyl acetate was followed by evaporation and dissolution of the residue in ammoniated methanol before defatting with n-hexane. Finally, the extract was further cleaned up by dispersive solid phase extraction using C-18 end-capped dispersive material. The validation protocol was adapted from the European Commission Decision 2002/657/EC and all the performance characteristics were successfully satisfied. The recoveries of all the analytes were found to be in the range of 86.4–108.1% and the precision values, within day and between days, ranged from 2.7% to 11% and 4.4% to 16.3%, respectively. The method was tested in various incurred samples and applied to analyse a wide range of random poultry market samples (n = 120) collected from three cities of the Punjab, Pakistan. Chloramphenicol and florfenicol residues were detected at low levels in less than 11% of the samples. Chloramphenicol was detected only in 4 samples with the concentration range of 0.17–0.477 µg kg–1, whereas the levels of florfenicol/florfenicol amine residues detected in 9 samples ranged from 8.7 to 32.8 µg kg–1. Moreover, most of the florfenicol residues were identified as tissue bound, extractable only after strong acid hydrolysis.