Author(s): Poli MA, Rivera VR, Hewetson JF, Merrill GA
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Abstract A highly sensitive and specific ELISA was developed to detect ricin in biological fluids. The assay utilizes an affinity-purified goat polyclonal antibody to adsorb ricin from solution. The same antibody (biotinylated) is then used to form a sandwich, and avidin-linked alkaline phosphatase allows color development and measurement of optical density at 405 nm. Our routine assay uses a standard curve over the range of 0-10 ng/ml ricin, with accurate quantitation below 1 ng/ml (100 pg/well) in assay buffer as well as in a 1:10 dilution of human urine or 1:50 dilution of human serum spiked with ricin. Ricin measured in spiked samples demonstrated accuracy typically within 5\% of the expected value in all matrices. The coefficient of variation ranged from 3-10\% at 10 ng/ml to 8-25\% at 2.5 ng/ml. Two variations on the routine assay were also investigated. First, lengthened incubation times and additional time for color development allowed accurate quantitation in serum dilutions as low as 1:2. Second, increased concentrations of biotinylated antibody and avidin-linked enzyme from 1:250 to 1:70 enhanced the sensitivity of the assay 10-fold, achieving a detection limit of at least 100 pg/ml (10 pg/well). The assay was also configured to a format based upon chemiluminescence, which allowed quantitation in the 0.1-1 ng/ml range, but was subject to slightly greater variability than the colorimetric assay.
This article was published in Toxicon
and referenced in Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense