A review of analytical strategies for the detection of endogenous' steroid abuse in food production

J.P. Scarth, J. Kay, P. Teale, C. Akre, B. le Bizec, H.F. de Brabander, L. Vanhaecke, L.A. van Ginkel, J. Points

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    Detection of the abuse of synthetic steroids in food production is nowadays relatively straightforward using modern techniques such as gas or liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS or LC-MS/MS, respectively). However, proving the abuse of endogenous (or naturally occurring) steroids is more difficult. Despite these difficulties, significant progress in this area has recently been made and a number of methods are now available. The aim of the current review was to systematically review the available analytical approaches, which include threshold concentrations, qualitative marker metabolites, intact steroid esters, gas chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-C-IRMS), longitudinal testing and omics biomarker profiling. The advantages/disadvantages of these methods are considered in detail, but the choice of which to adopt is dictated by a number of practical, political, and economic factors, which vary in different parts of the world. These include the steroid/species combination requiring analysis, the matrix tested, whether samples are collected from live or slaughtered animals, available analytical instrumentation, sample throughput/cost, and the relevant legal/regulatory frameworks. Furthermore, these approaches could be combined in a range of different parallel and/or sequential screening/confirmatory testing streams, with the final choice being determined by the aforementioned considerations. Despite these advances, more work is required to refine the different techniques and to respond to the ever increasing list of compounds classified as endogenous. At this advanced stage, however, it is now more important than ever for scientists and regulators from across the world to communicate and collaborate in order to harmonize and streamline research efforts. (c) 2012 HFL Sport Science (LGC Ltd) and (c) Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)40-49
    JournalDrug Testing and Analysis
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • tandem mass-spectrometry
    • performance liquid-chromatography
    • carbon-isotope analysis
    • meat-producing animals
    • gas-chromatography
    • anabolic-steroids
    • residue analysis
    • doping control
    • veal calves
    • pattern-recognition

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A review of analytical strategies for the detection of endogenous' steroid abuse in food production'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this