Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry

Monolith immuno-affinity enrichment liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry for quantitative protein analysis of recombinant bovine somatotropin in serum.

PMID 26077745


The use of recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST) to enhance milk production is approved in several countries, but it is prohibited in the European Union. According to EU legislation, it is necessary to confirm positive screening results prior to enforcement. Although adequate screening assays are available nowadays, development of liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) confirmatory methods to detect low levels of rbST is still a challenge. Here, we present a novel approach using immuno-affinity enrichment on monolithic micro-columns in combination with state-of-the-art ultra-high pressure LC-MS/MS (UHPLC-MS/MS) detection. The developed approach enables detection and confirmation of rbST in serum at a decision limit (CCα) concentration of 0.8 ng mL(-1). Furthermore, the method is easy to handle, robust and reproducible. We successfully applied the confirmatory method to serum samples from rbST treated cows that were found suspect after immunoassay-based screening. The use of rbST could be confirmed over 1 week after treatment, and the developed method demonstrated the sensitivity needed for effective control. Graphical Abstract Graphical summary of the workflow, for serum preparation, enrichment with monolith microcolumns and LC-MS/MS measurement of rbST.