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Immunochemical Detection of Molds: A Review

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Molds are widely distributed in nature and cause deterioration of foods and feeds. Their mycotoxins can adversely affect human and animal health. Suitable assays for molds, therefore, are required to implement control and regulatory strategies and to develop appropriate feeding regimens for mold-infested feeds. Many different types of mold assays have been used, most of which are not reproducible or accurate. However, the immunoassays, particularly enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), can be especially useful. Among these, assays that detect the water-soluble extracellular secretions of fungi, the exoantigens, are generally able to detect fungi at the genus or species level, whereas the heat-stable polysaccharides tend to be specific for one or more genus of fungi. Several species and genus (genera)–specific ELISAs have been developed using monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies against exoantigens and heat-stable polysaccharides from a wide range of fungi, including Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Fusarium species. Other assays have been developed that nonspecifically detect mold in food or feed, some using antibodies against a mixture of antigens from different fungi. These assays are highly sensitive, are easy to perform, and provide an index of the amount of mold present in the sample. Further refinement of these assays should facilitate their widespread use by food and feed processors, regulatory agencies, taxonomists, and research scientists.

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Animal Science, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada 2: Cereal Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Publication date: February 1, 2000

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