Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 397, Issue 1, pp 345–355 | Cite as

Characterisation of steroids in wooden crates of veal calves by accelerated solvent extraction (ASE®) and ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled to triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (U-HPLC-QqQ-MS-MS)

  • K. Verheyden
  • H. Noppe
  • J. Vanden Bussche
  • K. Wille
  • K. Bekaert
  • L. De Boever
  • J. Van Acker
  • C. R. Janssen
  • H. F. De Brabander
  • L. Vanhaecke
Original Paper


Illegal steroid administration to enhance growth performance in veal calves has long been, and still is, a serious issue facing regulatory agencies. Over the last years, stating undisputable markers of illegal treatment has become complex because of the endogenous origin of several anabolic steroids. Knowledge on the origin of an analyte is therefore of paramount importance. The present study shows the presence of steroid analytes in wooden crates used for housing veal calves. For this purpose, an analytical procedure using accelerated solvent extraction (ASE®), solid-phase extraction (SPE) and ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled to triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (U-HPLC-MS-MS) is developed for the characterisation of androstadienedione (ADD), boldenone (bBol), androstenedione (AED), β-testosterone (bT), α-testosterone (aT), progesterone (P) and 17α-hydroxy-progesterone (OH-P) in wood samples. In samples of wooden crates used for housing veal calves, ADD, AED, aT and P could be identified. Using the standard addition approach concentrations of these analytes were determined ranging from 20 ± 4 ppb to 32 ± 4 ppb for ADD, from 19 ± 5 ppb to 44 ± 17 ppb for AED, from 11 ± 6 ppb to 30 ± 2 ppb for aT and from 14 ± 1 ppb to 42 ± 27 ppb for P, depending on the sample type. As exposure of veal calves to steroid hormones in their housing facilities might complicate decision-making on illegal hormone administration, inequitable slaughter of animals remains possible. Therefore, complete prohibition of wooden calf accommodation should be considered.


Pressurised liquid extraction Solid-phase extraction (SPE) Liquid chromatography Mass spectrometry Steroid analytes Wood 



This study was financially supported by the Ghent University Special Research Fund (BOF). The authors wish to acknowledge L. Dossche and M. Anaf for their practical assistance in the laboratory.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Verheyden
    • 1
  • H. Noppe
    • 1
  • J. Vanden Bussche
    • 1
  • K. Wille
    • 1
  • K. Bekaert
    • 1
  • L. De Boever
    • 2
  • J. Van Acker
    • 2
  • C. R. Janssen
    • 3
  • H. F. De Brabander
    • 1
  • L. Vanhaecke
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Research Group of Veterinary Public Health and Zoonoses, Laboratory of Chemical AnalysisGhent UniversityMerelbekeBelgium
  2. 2.Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Department of Forest and Water Management, Laboratory of Wood TechnologyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  3. 3.Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Department of Applied Ecology and Environmental Biology, Laboratory of Environmental Toxicology and Aquatic EcologyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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