Separation sciences can be tough to grasp. The real-life impact isn’t always immediately obvious, and we’re often left wondering how it all affects our day-to-day. Real-Life Applications are here to show you some of the most prevalent ways chromatography and more makes life worth living.


Antibiotic-free meat has long been a part of a wide dialogue concerning health, food safety, and antimicrobial resistance among humans. While many restaurant chains have just recently adopted such standards for their meals, some companies have been antibiotic-free for decades.

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According to a case study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Applegate, an organic and natural meats company, “entered the specialty meat business in 1987 with nitrate-free bacon, seeking to differentiate itself from the conventional market at a time when the market for antibiotic-free meat did not exist.”

Now, that market absolutely exists.

Popular burrito chain Chipotle played a large role in making antibiotic-free meat mainstream, serving antibiotic-free pork since 2000, antibiotic-free chicken since 2002, and antibiotic-free beef since 2003.

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The NRDC reports a consumer demand for livestock raised without routine use of antibiotics is driving market change. As more studies, articles, and reports expose the danger of pumping food animals with antibiotics, a new attitude—and worry—grips the populous.

Simply put, “Using antibiotics on livestock that don’t need them threatens the health of people who do.” (NRDC.org)

So, then what?

Polymeric Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) and core-shell HPLC/UHPLC technology is used to test for Chloramphenicol, a commonly used antibiotic, in shrimp and other marine food.

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Easy to manufacture and low in price, Chloramphenicol is prominently used as treatment in developing countries. It is also listed on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) List of Essential Medicines, an aggregate of the most important medications needed in a basic health system.

By detecting antibiotics in food, chromatographic methods help prevent antimicrobial resistance to life-saving drugs like Chloramphenicol.

According to a fact sheet from the WHO, antimicrobial resistance is defined as “resistance of a microorganism to an antimicrobial drug that was originally effective for treatment of infections caused by it … Resistant microorganisms (including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites) are able to withstand attack by antimicrobial drugs … so that standard treatments become ineffective and infections persist, increasing the risk of spread to others.”

You can protect yourself from antimicrobial resistance through appropriate antibiotic use (completing your antibiotic cycle consistently to treat infections, not colds) and adhering to standard food safety guidelines.

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Learn more about Strata-X Polymeric SPE products and Kinetex 2.6 µm C18 HPLC/UHPLC columns—the power duo for the analysis of antibiotics in food products.


Related resources:

Antibiotics from Meat by LC/MS/MS
Chloramphenicol from Shrimp and Other Marine Food Products by LC/MS/MS
A Rapid Screening Method for Analysis of Multi-Class Antibiotics from Ground Meat
iMethod™ Food – Multi-Class Antibiotics Screening of Kidney Juice, Serum, Milk and Honey by LC/MS/MS
Multi-Class Antibiotics Screening of Meat for Human Consumption by LC/MS/MS
Antibiotics Screen from Bovine Kidney Juice by LC/MS/MS
Low Level Antibiotic Extract from Ground Meat on Kinetex XB-C18
High Level Antibiotic Extract from Ground Meat on Kinetex XB-C18
Sulfur Antibiotic on Kinetex 2.6u Biphenyl 50×3.0
Antibiotics by LCMS Using Kinetex 2.6u Biphenyl 50×2.1mm

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