Detection of growth-promoter use in animal production systems still proves to be an analytical challenge despite years of activity in the field. This study reports on the capability of NMR metabolomic profiling techniques to discriminate between plasma samples obtained from cattle treated with different groups of growth-promoting hormones (dexamethasone, prednisolone, oestradiol) based on recorded metabolite profiles. Two methods of NMR analysis were investigated-a Carr-Purcell-Meiboom-Gill (CPMG)-pulse sequence technique and a conventional H-1 NMR method using pre-extracted plasma. Using the CPMG method, 17 distinct metabolites could be identified from the spectra. H-1 NMR analysis of extracted plasma facilitated identification of 23 metabolites-six more than the alternative method and all within the aromatic region. Multivariate statistical analysis of acquired data from both forms of NMR analysis separated the plasma metabolite profiles into distinct sample cluster sets representative of the different animal study groups. Samples from both sets of corticosteroid-treated animals-dexamethasone and prednisolone-were found to be clustered relatively closely and had similar alterations to identified metabolite panels. Distinctive metabolite profiles, different from those observed within plasma from corticosteroid-treated animal plasma, were observed in oestradiol-treated animals and samples from these animals formed a cluster spatially isolated from control animal plasma samples. These findings suggest the potential use of NMR methodologies of plasma metabolite analysis as a high-throughput screening technique to aid detection of growth promoter use.
- veal calves