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Journal of Analytical Methods in Chemistry
Volume 2017, Article ID 1315497, 24 pages
Review Article

Tetracyclines in Food and Feedingstuffs: From Regulation to Analytical Methods, Bacterial Resistance, and Environmental and Health Implications

1Centro de Investigación en Nutrición Animal (CINA), Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica
2Centro de Investigación en Enfermedades Tropicales (CIET) and Facultad de Microbiología, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica

Correspondence should be addressed to César Rodríguez;

Received 2 August 2016; Revised 17 October 2016; Accepted 8 November 2016; Published 12 January 2017

Academic Editor: Jose Antonio Rodriguez Avila

Copyright © 2017 Fabio Granados-Chinchilla and César Rodríguez. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Antibiotics are widely used as growth promoters in animal husbandry; among them, the tetracyclines are a chemical group of relevance, due to their wide use in agriculture, surpassing in quantities applied almost every other antibiotic family. Seeing the considerable amounts of tetracyclines used worldwide, monitoring of these antibiotics is paramount. Advances must be made in the analysis of antibiotics to assess correct usage and dosage of tetracyclines in food and feedstuffs and possible residues in pertinent environmental samples. The tetracyclines are still considered a clinically relevant group of antibiotics, though dissemination of tolerance and resistance determinants have limited their use. This review focuses on four different aspects: (i) tetracyclines, usage, dosages, and regulatory issues that govern their food-related application, with particular attention to the prohibitions and restrictions that several countries have enforced in recent years by agencies from both the United States and the European Union, (ii) analytical methods for tetracyclines, determination, and residues thereof in feedstuffs and related matrices with an emphasis on the most relevant and novel techniques, including both screening and confirmatory methods, (iii) tetracycline resistance and tetracycline-resistant bacteria in feedstuff, and (iv) environmental and health risks accompanying the use of tetracyclines in animal nutrition. In the last two cases, we discuss the more relevant undesirable effects that tetracyclines exert over bacterial communities and nontarget species including unwanted effects in farmers.