Multi residue screening of intact testosterone esters and boldenone undecylenate in bovine hair using liquid chromatography electrospray tandem mass spectrometry

Multi residue screening of intact testosterone esters and boldenone undecylenate in bovine hair using liquid chromatography electrospray tandem mass spectrometry / Michel W.F. Nielen, Johan J.P. Lasaroms, Patrick P.J. Mulder, Johan Van Hende, J. Hans A. van Rhijn, Maria J. Groot

  • Journal of Chromatography B 830 (2006) 1 (2 January), p. 126-134
  • PMID: 16301005
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.jchromb.2005.10.028


The abuse of esters of natural androgenic steroids in cattle fattening and sports is hard to control via routine urine testing. The esters are rapidly hydrolysed in vivo into substances which are also endogenously present in urine. In veterinary control strange findings of 17beta-testosterone and 17alpha-testosterone in urine are often ignored because of the lack of statistically sound reference data of naturally occurring levels. An interesting alternative for inconclusive urine analyses in veterinary control can be provided by the analysis of the administered steroids themselves, i.e. the analysis of intact steroid esters in hair. Unfortunately, the analysis of intact steroid esters is complicated not only by the vulnerability of the esters which precludes alkaline hydrolysis of the hair, but also by the wide polarity range of short and long-chain esters yielding very poor recoveries for either the one or the other. In this study, a multi-steroid esters LC/MS/MS screening method is presented for trace analysis of the synthetic intact esters of 17beta-testosterone and the undecylenate ester of 17beta-boldenone in bovine hair. The method, requiring only 200 mg of pulverised hair, features a mild digestion procedure using tris(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine hydrochloride (TCEP) and the use of four deuterium-labelled steroid esters as internal standards covering the wide polarity range of the analytes. In spiked hair samples for most of the analytes the limit of detection and the accuracy using isotope dilution were 2-5 ng/g and 97-105%, respectively. The applicability was demonstrated using hair samples from a controlled experiment in which six bovines were injected intramuscularly with two different doses of two commercial mixtures of testosterone esters, and with two different doses of boldenone undecylenate. Depending on the dose all administered testosterone- and boldenone esters were found to be incorporated in bovine hair following a single intramuscular injection, except testosterone propionate which dose might have been too low.


Research / Study
21 November 2005
Groot, Mara J.
Lasaroms, Johan J.P.
Mulder, Patrick P.J.
Nielen, Michel W.F.
Rhijn, Hans A. van
Van Hende, Johan
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Rijks- en Kwaliteitsinstituut voor Land- en Tuinbouwproducten (RIKILT)
Universiteit Gent (UGent) - Ghent University
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Mass spectrometry analysis
Testing method development
Doping classes
S1. Anabolic Agents
Meat contamination
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Date generated
15 June 2022
Date of last modification
23 June 2022
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