Detection of ricin in food using electrochemiluminescence-based technology.

Garber, E.A., O'Brien, T.W.
Journal   J AOAC Int.
Analytes Measured  
Matrix Tested   Juice, dairy products, soda, vegetables, bakery products, chocolate, condiments
Year   2008
Volume   91
Page Numbers   376-82
Application   Toxicology
Ricin is a toxic ribosome inactivating protein (RIP-II) present in beans of the castor plant, Ricinus communis. Its potential as a biodefense threat has made the rapid, sensitive detection of ricin in food important to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Samples of juice, dairy products, soda, vegetables, bakery products, chocolate, and condiments were spiked with varying concentrations of ricin and analyzed using a 96-well format, electrochemiluminescence (ECL) immunoassay. Assay configurations included the use of a monoclonal capture antibody coupled with either a polyclonal or monoclonal detector antibody. The samples and detector antibodies were either added sequentially or in combination during the capture step. Using the polyclonal antibody, 0.04 ng/mL ricin was detected in analytical samples prepared from several beverages. By simultaneously incubating the sample with detector antibody, it was possible to decrease the assay time to a single 20 min incubation step with a limit of detection <10 ng/mL. Assays run according to this single incubation step exhibited a hook effect (decrease in signal at high concentrations of ricin), but because of the large signal-to-noise ratio associated with the ECL assay, the response remained above background and detectable. Thus, the ECL assay was uniquely suited for the screening of samples for ricin.

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