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Agglutination is a process of visible expression of the aggregation of antigens and antibodies. These reactions apply to particular test antigens that have been conjugated to a carrier. The carrier could be artificial (example latex or charcoal particles) or biological (example red blood cells). These conjugated particles are reacted with patient serum presumably containing antibodies. The end point of the test is the observation of clumps resulting from that antigen-antibody complex formation.
Agglutination reactions have many applications in clinical medicine. Agglutination reactions can be used to type blood cells for transfusion, to identify bacterial cultures, and to detect the presence and relative amount of specific antibody in a patient’s serum. Agglutination has been commonly used to determine whether a patient had or has a bacterial infection.
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