Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 411, Issue 2, pp 449–457 | Cite as

Analysis of corticosteroids in samples of animal origin using QuEChERS and ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry

  • Iñaki Beguiristain
  • Angelina Alongi
  • Antoni Rúbies
  • Mercè Granados
Research Paper


A rapid and sensitive method for the confirmatory analysis of eight synthetic corticosteroids (betamethasone, dexamethasone, prednisolone, 6-methylprednisolone, triamcinolone, flumethasone, beclomethasone, fluocinolone acetonide) is proposed. The method is useful for detecting illegal treatments in different animal species. It consists of an extraction and cleanup using the quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe (QuEChERS) strategy. Quantitative determination is achieved by ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry with heated electrospray ionization in negative mode. Quantification is performed using surrogate matrix-matched standard calibration curve with dexamethasone-D4 as the internal standard. The method was validated for analyzing liver samples according to the criteria established by Decision 2002/657/EC. Linearity was assessed in the 1–10 μg kg−1 range and linear correlation coefficients were over 0.99 for all the analytes. CCα ranged from 0.04 to 0.16 μg kg−1 for substances without maximum residue limit. The method allows confident quantification and confirmation of corticosteroids in liver samples, and its simplicity makes it suitable for analyzing large numbers of samples.


Synthetic corticosteroids Liquid chromatography High-resolution mass spectrometry Orbitrap Food analysis Liver 



The authors would like to thank Jana Portabella for her cooperation in the method development.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department d’Enginyeria Química i Química AnalíticaUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Laboratori de l’Agència de Salut Pública de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della SiciliaPalermoItaly

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