Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/24/2012
Publication Date: 12/24/2012
Citation: Cheng, L.W., Stanker, L.H. 2013. Detection of botulinum neurotoxin serotypes A and B using a chemiluminescent versus electrochemiluminescent immunoassay in food and serum. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 61(3):755-760 doi:10.1021/jf3041963. Interpretive Summary: Botulinum neurotoxins are potent toxins that cause botulism. Current standard testing requires the use of mice and is time consuming. In this study, we tested the use of two antibody-based detection methods (ELISA and ECL) to compare how well they performed in the presence of foods or animal serum. The ECL method outperformed ELISA methods in most foods. Both methods were also more sensitive than the standard mouse assay. Faster and more sensitive detection methods will improve food safety and help with more timely delivery of medical care in cases of botulism.
Technical Abstract: Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are some of the most potent biological toxins. High-affinity monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have been developed for the detection of BoNT serotypes A and B using a chemiluminescent capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). In an effort to improve toxin detection levels in complex matrices such as food and sera, we evaluated the performance of existing antitoxin mAbs using a new electrochemiluminescence (ECL) immunoassay platform developed by Meso Scale Discovery. In side-by-side comparisons, the limits of detection (LODs) observed for ELISA and the ECL immunoassay for BoNT/A were 12 and 3 pg/mL, and for BoNT/B, they were 17 and 13 pg/mL, respectively. Both the ELISA and the ECL method were more sensitive than the “gold standard” mouse bioassay. The ECL assay outperformed ELISA in detection sensitivity in most of the food matrices fortified with BoNT/A and in some foods spiked with BoNT/B. Both the ELISA and the ECL immunoassay platforms are fast, simple alternatives for use in the routine detection of BoNTs in food and animal sera.