Hormone use in food production is a controversial topic. Using recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST), also called growth hormone, to increase milk production is approved in the USA for instance, but forbidden in the EU. It is of great interest for EU control authorities and concerned US consumers to ensure rbST-free milk production. Therefore, suitable rbST detection methods are required.
In my thesis, I developed different detection methods to identify whether rbST has been used by analysing blood and milk samples from dairy cows. Since it is difficult to detect the rbST molecule itself in the cow’s body, my detection methods analyse rbST biomarkers that are either increased or decreased after rbST injection.
In my thesis, I present rbST detection methods that can be used within a laboratory environment or on the dairy farm directly by making use of a smartphone. Using these methods, samples from rbST-treated animals can be identified.