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Technical note: Rapid field test for the quantification of vitamin E, β-carotene, and vitamin A in whole blood and plasma of dairy cattle.

  • Ghaffari, Morteza H1
  • Bernhöft, Katrin2
  • Etheve, Stephane3
  • Immig, Irmgard3
  • Hölker, Michael1
  • Sauerwein, Helga1
  • Schweigert, Florian J4
  • 1 Institute of Animal Science, University of Bonn, 53115 Bonn, Germany. , (Germany)
  • 2 BioAnalyt GmbH, 14513 Teltow, Germany. , (Germany)
  • 3 DSM Nutritional Products Ltd., 4303 Kaiseraugst, Switzerland. , (Switzerland)
  • 4 Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Institute of Nutritional Science, University of Potsdam, 14558 Nuthetal, Germany. Electronic address: [email protected] , (Germany)
Published Article
Journal of Dairy Science
American Dairy Science Association
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2019
DOI: 10.3168/jds.2019-16755
PMID: 31629508


Fast and easy tests for quantifying fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin E and vitamin A, as well as β-carotene, in whole blood without a need to preprocess blood samples could facilitate assessment of the vitamin status of dairy cattle. The objective of this study was to validate a field-portable fluorometer/spectrophotometer assay for the rapid quantification of these vitamins in whole blood and plasma of dairy cows and calves. We measured the concentrations of vitamin E and β-carotene in whole blood and plasma from 28 dairy cows and 11 calves using the iCheck test (BioAnalyt GmbH, Teltow, Germany) and compared the results with the current analytical standard (HPLC) in 2 independent laboratories, one at the University of Potsdam (Germany) and at one at DSM Nutritional Products Ltd. (Kaiseraugst, Switzerland). For vitamin A, the HPLC measurements were done only in the laboratory in Germany. The whole-blood concentrations of vitamin E as determined by iCheck (blood-hematocrit-corrected) ranged from 1.82 to 4.99 mg/L in dairy cows and 0.34 to 3.40 mg/L in calves. These findings were moderately correlated (R2 = 0.66) with the values assessed by HPLC in dairy cattle (cows + calves). When calves were excluded, the correlation was higher (R2 = 0.961). The β-carotene and vitamin A values obtained by the reference method HPLC were highly correlated with the iCheck methods in whole blood (R2 = 0.99 and 0.88, respectively). In plasma, we observed strong correlations between the concentrations assessed by iCheck and those of HPLC for vitamin E (R2 = 0.97), β-carotene (R2 = 0.98), and vitamin A (R2 = 0.92) in dairy cattle (cows + calves). For vitamin E, β-carotene, and vitamin A, we compared the relationship between the differences obtained by the iCheck assay and the HPLC measurements, as well as the magnitude of measurements, using Bland-Altman plots to test for systematic bias. For all 3 vitamins, the differences values were not outside the 95% acceptability limits; we found no systematic error between the 2 methods for all 3 analytes. The Authors. Published by FASS Inc. and Elsevier Inc. on behalf of the American Dairy Science Association®. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

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