Targeted (bio)analysis

Humans typically are exposed to complex mixtures of both natural and synthetic chemicals. Effect-based bioanalysis provides the most comprehensive view on potential hazards or benefits of these complex mixtures. However, regulations mostly still require targeted analysis of specific compounds. BDS has more than 20 years of experience bridging these requirements by using chemical compound class selective quantitative bioanalysis in combination with selective extraction and workup methods. Our service laboratory is ISO 17025 (registration number RvA L401) accredited for analysis of dioxins, furans, and dioxin-like compounds, non-dioxin-like PCBs and estrogenic compounds, while new methods are being developed. In addition to quantitative and selective bioanalysis, state-of-the-art chemical analytics is offered.

Dioxins, furans and dioxin-like compounds

Chemical safety is a high priority issue for the food and feed sector as it directly impacts human and animal health. Stringent EU limit values are in force for dioxins in food- and feeding stuffs for animal and public health protection (Commission Regulation (EU) No 589/2014 (food) and Commission Regulation (EU) No 278/2012 (feed)). The use of the DR CALUX® bioassay for monitoring dioxins in food and feed allows the (pre)-selection of samples suspected of being contaminated above regulatory limit values with dioxins. Dioxins and dioxin-like compound analyses by the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) based, DR CALUX analysis method in various food and feed matrices is ISO 17025 accredited (RvA L401), while the California State Water Board has approved BDS for AhR based analysis of dioxins in (recycled) water.

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

PCBs are a highly toxic class of persistent industrial chemicals that are often addressed as a compound class in safety assessments. PCBs can be divided in two groups: the dioxin-like PCBs (dl-PCBs) and the non-dioxin-like PCBs (ndl-PCBs). Dioxin-like PCBs show toxicological effects similar to those of dioxins and can be measured with the DR CALUX® analysis method.

Non-dioxin-like PCBs are also regulated for food and feed samples according to the above-mentioned EU regulations. In contrast to dioxins and dioxin-like chemicals, non-dioxin-like PCBs are analysed using chemical-analytical methods (GC-MS/MS). BDS is also ISO 17025 accredited (RvA L401) for this method.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

PAHs are typically present in matrices as complex mixtures. Analytical measurements generally focus on a very limited set of the thousands of PAHs that are known to exist.  The PAH CALUX® method has the advantage that it detects the toxic, carcinogenic PAHs and is therefore perfectly suitable for hazard identification.

Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

PFAS are known to be able to interfere in thyroid hormone metabolism by e.g., disrupting the transport of the natural ligand thyroxine (T4) by  a major transporter protein transthyretin (TTR). The PFAS CALUX® assay uses this important property to measure the effect of the range of PFAS compounds in chemical mixtures, independent of prior knowledge of their structure, has been shown in already.  Disruption of TTR binding by T4 is benchmarked against the reference compound PFOA and expressed as pg PFOA equivalents/g sample processed. Simple sample processing and clean-up is required, allowing successful application to a wide range of matrices.


Endogenous steroids are key in the regulation of a wide range of physiological processes. Steroids are widely used as drugs and illegally, e.g. as growth- and performance promoters.  In addition, steroid residues are found as contaminants in food and the environment. We have generated a panel of assays to measure bioactive steroids. Particular care was taken to avoid cross reactions, leading to a highly selective assay panel for the detection of estrogens, androgens, progestins and glucocorticoids, that has shown its value in a wide range of applications.

Environmental estrogens

Environmental estrogens are contaminants that can mimic the biological effects of the steroid hormone estrogen and when present at levels above established trigger values can disrupt normal estrogen action, thereby acting as so-called endocrine disrupting compounds. The detection and quantification of estrogenic compounds in e.g., (environmental) water samples by CALUX® analysis is ISO 17025 accredited (RvA L401), while the California State Water Board has approved BDS for ERalpha based analysis of estrogens in (recycled) water.

Fractionation techniques

Many samples, e.g. from food, feed or environmental origin, contain a complex mixture of bioactive compounds. To reduce complexity and / or irrelevant background activities, BDS applies and develops chemical analytical fractionation techniques. These include solid-phase extraction (SPE), gel permeation chromatography (GPC), and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). While many protocols can readily be performed in our laboratories, dedicated protocols for new or uncommon matrices may be developed on demand.

In addition, BDS is experienced in identifying compounds responsible for bioactivity in complex mixtures through effect-directed analysis (EDA). For this, the fractionation techniques are coupled to bioanalysis to identify bioactive fractions. When sufficiently pure, the compounds in these fractions can be analysed on their chemical identity.

If you are interested in our analytical services, please contact us at, or contact Peter Behnisch or Harrie Besselink

For further information, please see the relevant references section.