In the meantime three species are facing extinction. In 2004 scientists in the United States identified the cause: the drug Diclofenac. The use of this anti-inflammatory agent in veterinary medicine has meanwhile been banned, however, due to the lack of a suitable detection method, the ban could so far not been enforced effectively. This gap is now being closed with a rapid test developed by scientists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM).
Diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory agent, has been deployed successfully in human medicine for decades. In most EU countries medication containing Diclofenac is only approved for treatment of humans. In India, Pakistan and Nepal it has been deployed in veterinary medicine as well since the 90s, in particular for livestock. When vultures feed on cattle carcasses, they too ingest the drug. As a result, the populations of three species of these birds of prey – the Indian vulture, the Oriental white-backed vulture and the slender-billed vulture – have shrunk to a mere three percent of their original number.
In light of this situation, the governments of the affected countries banned the use of Diclofenac in veterinary medicine in 2006. Furthermore, centers for breeding and subsequent re-introduction of vultures into the wild have been set up and are enjoying considerable support from the British Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). However, it will take at least ten years before the first birds can be released back into the wild. Raising the bird offspring with Diclofenac-free food, necessitates testing meat for possible traces of the drug. This calls for analytical detection methods that can be administered in remote breeding centers by staff with little or no professional training. The scientists of the Chair for Analytical Chemistry at the Institute for Hydrochemistry and Chemical Balneology at the TU Muenchen have now developed just such a method.
Technische Universitaet Muenchen Corporate Communications Center 80290 Muenchen Dr. Ulrich Marsch Head of Corporate Communications +49 89 289 22779 firstname.lastname@example.org Patrick Regan International Public Relations +49 89 289 22743 email@example.com The scientists started by producing a very specific Diclofenac antibody that they could use to develop a highly sensitive immunological test to detect the drug. The test uses miniaturized plastic microtiter plates and has the advantage of not requiring complex sample treatment, which translates into quick and low-cost analyses.
A pilot study in collaboration with the RSPB, the Bombay Natural History Society and the Wildlife Institute of India proved the suitability of the immune test for detecting Diclofenac in animal tissue. The procedure is currently undergoing extensive testing at an Indian vulturebreeding center. However, this method is also suitable for many other fields of application, as shown for instance in studies on Diclofenac contamination of wastewater in Bavaria and Austria. In the meantime the antibody is also being used in clinical environments to study allergic reactions to the drug.
Diclofenac binds strongly with protein molecules and the conjugate can be immobilized in the wells of the microtiter plate. When the sample and the antibody are added, the antibody can either react with the drug molecules of the sample or with the molecules previously bonded to the fixed Diclofenac-protein conjugate. The higher the Diclofenac concentration in the sample, the fewer antibodies remain to bind with the Diclofenac-bonded protein in the well. The concentration of bound antibodies can then be determined in a color reaction with a peroxidase enzyme and tetramethylbenzidine. “With our new method we have simplified the detection of Diclofenac in animal tissue significantly,” says Professor Dietmar Knopp, whose team developed the test. “This also means more tests can be carried out and that monitoring will improve.”
Currently, the scientists are working on further simplifying the test with the backing of the RSPB and in collaboration with the start-up company SENOVA. The goal is a single-use immunological rapid test to detect the presence of the drug that can be done in a few minutes and does not require expensive read-out equipment.
This kind of test may be needed in Europe in the near future, as well. With over 80 tons of Diclofenac sold every year in Germany alone, it is among the pharmaceutical substances most frequently found in surface water samples. “Studies have shown that Diclofenac leads to kidney damage in trout,” says Professor Reinhard Niessner, head of the Institute of Hydrochemistry at the TUM. “As this substance degrades only very slowly, there may be need for action soon. As new waste water treatments are developed and implemented in the future, simple methods for monitoring their efficiency will be required.”
Publication on the immunological detection of Diclofenac:
Knopp, D., Deng, A., Letzel, M., Himmelsbach, M., Zhu, Q.-Z., Peröbner, I., Kudlak, B., Frey, S., Sengl, M., Buchberger, W., Taggart, M., Hutchinson, C., Cunningham, A., Pain, D., Cuthbert, R., Raab, A., Meharg, A., Swan, G., Jhala, Y., Prakash, V., Rahmani, A., Quervedo, M., Niessner, R., “Immunological determination of the pharmaceutical Diclofenac in environmental and biological samples.” In: National Environmental Management of Agrochemicals: Risk Assessment, Monitoring and Remedial Action" ACS Symposium Series, ACS Washington, 2007, Vol. 966, 203-226 http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/bk-2007-0966.ch013 Images: http://mediatum2.ub.tum.de/node?cunfold=997681&dir=997681&id=997681 Link to the vulture rescue project: http://www.vulturerescue.org
Contact: Prof. Dr. Dietmar Knopp Technische Universitaet Muenchen Institute of Hydrochemistry and Chair for Analytical Chemistry Marchioninistraße 17, 81377 Munich, Germany Tel: +49 89-2180 78252 Fax: +49 89-2180-78255 E-mail: Dietmar.Knopp@ch.tum.de Internet: http://www.ws.chemie.tu-muenchen.de
Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) is one of Germany’s leading universities. It has roughly 420 professors, 7,500 academic and non-academic staff (including those at the university hospital “Rechts der Isar”), and 24,000 students. It focuses on the engineering sciences, natural sciences, life sciences, medicine, and economic sciences. After winning numerous awards, it was selected as an “Elite University” in 2006 by the Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat) and the German Research Foundation (DFG). The university’s global network includes an outpost in Singapore. TUM is dedicated to the ideal of a top-level research based entrepreneurial university.
Dr. Andreas Battenberg | EurekAlert!
Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli
26.04.2017 | University of the Basque Country
New data unearths pesticide peril in beehives
21.04.2017 | Cornell University
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences