Bovine kidney tissue/biological fluid correlation for penicillin


O. Alberto Chiesa, Division of Residue Chemistry, Office of Research, Center for Veterinary Medicine, Food & Drug Administration, 8401 Muirkirk Road, Laurel, MD 20708, USA. E-mail:


Penicillin is one of the most commonly misused drugs in steers and dairy cows. In the US, at slaughter the tolerance is 50 ng/g in kidney and other edible tissues. If the tolerance is exceeded, the carcass may not be used for human food. A preslaughter test for penicillin in an easily accessible biological fluid is needed to predict if the concentration of penicillin is below tolerance in the kidney before the bovine is slaughtered. In this study, 12 steers were injected three times with the approved dose (7000 IU) of penicillin at 12-h intervals. Blood and urine samples were collected at intervals after the final dose of penicillin. At each sampling point, one kidney biopsy sample was collected by laparoscopic surgery in the live animal. Another kidney sample was collected at slaughter. Correlations between plasma and kidney concentrations and between urine and kidney concentrations were determined. These correlations predict with 95% confidence that 99% of the animals will have kidney tissue below penicillin tolerance when the plasma concentration of penicillin is below 0.4 ng/mL and/or the urine penicillin concentration is below 140 ng/mL.