25 April 2020
The study carried out a primary validation of Charm II tests for the detection of antimicrobial residues in aquaculture fish. The validation was performed according to European Commission Decision 2002/657/ EC and the parameters determined included: detection capability, repeatability, reproducibility, specificity and robustness for the detection of antimicrobial residues in fish. Fish materials from different species including cat fish, trout, salmon, sea bass, tilapia, lingue and pangasius, were spiked with varying concentrations of selected antimicrobials including sulfonamides, β-lactams, macrolides, tetracyclines and aminoglycosides to determine the detection capabilities and other validation parameters of the Charm II tests. Results of the validation showed that the detection capabilities for the tetracyclines ranged from 25 to 100 µg/kg, while the sulfonamides and aminoglycosides were detected at 25 µg/kg for all species under study. The detection capabilities for the beta-lactams ranged from 25 to 300 µg/kg; and was 100 µg/kg for the tested macrolides. Results of the study showed that there was no significant difference between counts for samples read immediately after addition of the scintillation liquid and those read 14 h after addition of the scintillation liquid, provided that there was good vortexing before analysis. There was also no significant difference between counts for the same samples analyzed in different runs under repeatability and reproducibility conditions at the same spiking concentrations for the different fish species analyzed. The relative standard deviation for both repeatability and reproducibility ranged from 1.2 to 15.1%. The Charm II tests were found to be 100% group specific, as none of the antimicrobials kits, gave false positive results when testing non-target antimicrobial drugs. Results of this study demonstrate the suitability of the Charm II technique as a rapid screening tool for detection of antimicrobial residues in a variety of fish species at maximum residue limits (MRL) established in the EU guidelines, with the exception of tilmicosin which was detected at 2 MRL. The results also prove the robustness, specificity, reliability and precision of the Charm II assay in the detection of various antimicrobial residuals in fish and its applicability for the rapid evaluation of the quality of aquaculture fish for safety and trade purposes.