Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 405, Issue 24, pp 7875–7884 | Cite as

An inter-laboratory validation of a multiplex dipstick assay for four classes of antibiotics in honey

  • Katharina Heinrich
  • Roy Macarthur
  • Christoph von Holst
  • Matthew Sharman
Research Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Rapid Detection in Food and Feed


In this paper, we report the inter-laboratory validation (ILV) of a recently developed indirect competitive multiplex dipstick (Bee4sensor®) which is capable of the simultaneous detection of residues of some of the most frequently detected antibiotic residues in honey: sulfonamides, tylosin, fluoroquinolones and chloramphenicol. The multi-sensor dipstick can be interpreted via visual observation or by an instrumental measurement of four test lines. Statistical analysis of the ILV data demonstrated that the multi-sensor can reliably detect the presence of sulfathiazole at 25 μg kg−1 and tylosin at 10 μg kg−1, which fully meet the ‘recommended concentrations’ of the EU. Ciprofloxacin and chloramphenicol can be detected at 25 and 5 μg kg−1 in honey, respectively. Whilst the concentration for chloramphenicol is above the EU minimum required performance limit of 0.3 μg kg−1, this part of the multiplex test may still be of use to both the industry and enforcement authorities, to provide an early warning of contaminated honey. The estimated false-negative and false-positive rates for this easy-to-use and robust assay were less than 5 %.


Honey Antibiotics Screening method Bioassay Drug monitoring Food/beverages 


  1. 1.
    Codex (2010) Discussion paper on veterinary drugs in honey production Accessed 3 Jan 2013
  2. 2.
    US Food and Drug Administration database. Accessed 3 Jan 2013
  3. 3.
    RASFF portal. Accessed 3 Jan 2013
  4. 4.
    European Commission (2003) Commission Decision 2003/181/EC of 13 March 2003 amending Decision 2002/657/EC as regards the setting of minimum required performance limits (MRPLs) for certain residues in food of animal origin. L71. 17–18Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    CRL guidance paper (2007) Accessed 3 Jan 2013
  6. 6.
    Community reference laboratories (2010). Guidelines for the validation of screening methods for residues of veterinary medicines (initial validation and transfer). Accessed 3 Jan 2013
  7. 7.
    Reybroek W, Ooghe A, De Brabander H, Daeseleire E (2007) Validation of the tetrasensor honey test kit for the screening of tetracyclines in honey. J Agric Food Chem 55:8359–8366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Gaudin V, Hedou C, Verdon E (2013) Validation of two ELISA kits for the screening of tylosin and streptomycin in honey according to the European Decision 2002/657/EC. Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess 30(1):93–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Conffidence (2010) Conffidence project website. Accessed 3 Jan 2013
  10. 10.
    Unisensor (2012) Bee4sensor® webpage. Accessed 3 Jan 2013
  11. 11.
    European Commission (2002) Commission decision of 12 August 2002 implementing Council Directive 96/23/EC concerning the performance of analytical methods and the interpretation of results. L221. 8–36Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Brown LD, Cail TT, DasGupta A (2001) Interval estimation for a binomial proportion. Stat Sci 16(2):101–133Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Mee RW (1984) β-expectation and β-content tolerance limits for balanced one-way ANOVA random model. Technometrics 26(3):251–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Feinberg MJ (2007) Validation of analytical methods based on accuracy profiles. Chromatogr A 1158(1–2):174–183Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Adams S, Heinrich K, Fussell R, Wilkins S, Thompson H, Ashwin H, Sharman M (2008) Study of the distribution and depletion of chloramphenicol residues in bee products extracted from treated honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies. Apidologie 39:537–546CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Crown Copyright as represented by: Food and Environment Research Agency 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharina Heinrich
    • 1
  • Roy Macarthur
    • 1
  • Christoph von Holst
    • 2
  • Matthew Sharman
    • 1
  1. 1.The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera)YorkUK
  2. 2.European Commission, Joint Research CentreInstitute for Reference Materials and MeasurementsGeelBelgium

Personalised recommendations