Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Probes for assaying seafood toxins

The project investigates the use of immunoassay procedures for the development of an electrode probe for the rapid detection of seafood toxins. These toxins can cause serious reactions and illness in humans and so their rapid detection is of paramount importance. Immunoassays are based on the detection and measurement of the primary antibody-antigen (in this case the toxin) binding reaction. Antibodies specific to the toxin are produced by injecting an immunogen into a laboratory animal thereby eliciting an immunogenic response and producing the required antibodies. Many small molecules (eg toxins) are non-immunogenic and so must be coupled (termed conjugation) to larger molecules, such as proteins, in order to elicit specific antibody formation. A number of systems including EIA (enzyme immunoassay), ELISA (enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay) and electrochemical biosensors are used to detect the extent of the antibody-antigen binding thus enabling quantification of the substance to be analysed. The antibodies can be immobilized onto a solid phase such as a probe.

Progress to date includes toxin conjugation, the production of polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies, and the production of electrochemical biosensors for determining enzyme activity. Monoclonal antibodies which bind okadaic acid (a phycotoxin) have been produced but were less specific than those from a commercially available primary antibody. The latter enabled the detection and measurement of very small amounts (10-7 Molar) of okadaic acid.

Reported by

Universita degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata


Biotechnology - Food
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