Detection and confirmation of beta-agonists in bovine retina using LC/APCI-MS

Anal Chem. 1996 Jun 1;68(11):1918-23. doi: 10.1021/ac951174f.


Beta-adrenergic receptor agonists are growth-promoting drugs with the potential for illegal use in livestock, and human toxicity has resulted from consumption of contaminated meat. On-line liquid chromatography with atmospheric pressure chemical ionization mass spectrometry (LC/APCI-MS) was used for sensitive detection of several beta-agonists in retina, a tissue reported to concentrate and retain such residues for extended periods. Multiresidue extraction, separation, detection, and confirmation procedures were developed for retinal tissue and applied to eyes from cattle treated with clenbuterol (69-201 ppb) and to control eyes spiked with salbutamol (100 ppb) and terbutaline (25-100 ppb). Rapid switching of the potential difference between sampling cone and skimmer in the transport region of the API source was used to optimize acquisition of the protonated molecules and characteristic fragment ions obtained by collision-induced dissociation reactions. The respective selected ions were simultaneously acquired using a single quadrupole mass spectrometer. The accurate and precise agreement observed for diagnostic ion intensity ratios between beta-agonists in retinal samples and authentic standards suggests that LC/APCI-MS can be used for confirmation of analyte structure at trace levels and does not require the use of a triple-stage quadrupole mass analyzer.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Drug Residues / analysis*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Retina / chemistry*


  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists