A new approach to the search for residues of unknown growth promoting agents such as anabolic steroids and -agonists in feed is presented. Following primary extraction and clean-up, samples are separated using gradient liquid chromatography (LC). The effluent is split towards two identical 96-well fraction collectors and an optional electrospray quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (QTOFMS) system for accurate mass measurement. One 96-well plate is used for a bioassay (enzyme-immuno assay, receptor assay) and will detect the bioactivity and position of the relevant peak in the chromatogram. The positive well in the second 96-well plate is used for identification by LC/QTOFMS/MS. The value of this LC/bioassay/QTOFMS/MS methodology is highlighted by the finding and structure elucidation of a new -agonist in a feed extract.
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