An enzyme immunoassay (EIA) in which an immunoglobulin A monoclonal antibody from a myeloma (MOPC 467) is used was developed to detect the presence of Salmonella organisms. This myeloma protein binds to a flagellar determinant of the organisms but is not directed toward the H antigens. Of 100 strains tested, 94% were detectable with this antibody. The EIA, used with MOPC 467, is quick, sensitive, and specific, showing virtually no cross-reactivity to other enteric organisms. Initial screening of antibody reactivity was performed by Ouchterlony gel diffusion with the supernatants of heat-treated Salmonella cultures. After this, an EIA was performed on the heat extracts with the myeloma protein, which had been directly coupled to alkaline phosphatase. A positive reaction was indicated by the production of a yellow color after the addition of a substrate (p-nitrophenylphosphate), and this was quantitated by determining the absorbance at 405 nm. The EIA proved to be slightly more sensitive than the Ouchterlony analysis. The sensitivity of the EIA is such that as few as 10(6) Salmonella organisms per ml were detected. This concentration was easily obtained after a 24-h preenrichment incubation of the sample. Mixtures of Salmonella strains with a 10 x concentration of Escherichia coli did not prevent detection of the Salmonella strains. This EIA can be successfully used to detect contamination of foods, as it was used to detect the intentional contamination of infant formula in these studies. Indications are that the EIA is sensitive enough to detect Salmonella strains in M broth subcultures taken directly from a preenrichment culture. Testing of samples could thus be completed 36 h after culture initiation, rather than after 96 h, the time currently needed
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