Qualitative and quantitative comparisons were conducted of commercially available immunodiagnostic devices for the detection of three select agents with oral LD50 values ≥0.1 mg/kg of body weight. Ricin (oral LD50 > 1 mg/kg), amanitin (oral LD50 approximately 0.1 mg/kg), and T-2 toxin (oral LD50 > 1 mg/kg) were spiked into beverages, produce, dairy, and baked goods and assayed using commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) and lateral flow devices. In all cases, the commercial diagnostic kits successfully detected all three select agents at concentrations below what might be a health concern. The considerable difference between the limit of detection of the immunodiagnostic devices employed (typically ≤0.020 μg/g) and the amount of the select agent necessary to pose a health threat in a single serving of food facilitated the design of protocols for the high throughput screening of food samples. These protocols entailed simple extraction methods followed by sample dilution. Lateral flow devices and sandwich ELISAs for the detection of ricin had no significant background problems due to the food matrices. Competitive ELISAs, which typically have unacceptably high background reactions with food samples, successfully detected amanitin and T-2 toxin.

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