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Detection of Ricin Contamination in Ground Beef by Electrochemiluminescence Immunosorbent Assay

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Author(s): David L. Brandon

Journal: Toxins
ISSN 2072-6651

Volume: 3;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 398;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: ricin | Ricinus communis agglutinin | castor | monoclonal antibody | biothreat | electrochemiluminescence

ABSTRACT
Ricin is a highly toxic protein present in the seeds of Ricinus communis (castor), grown principally as a source of high quality industrial lubricant and as an ornamental. Because ricin has been used for intentional poisoning in the past and could be used to contaminate food, there is a need for analytical methodology to detect ricin in food matrices. A monoclonal antibody-based method was developed for detecting and quantifying ricin in ground beef, a complex, fatty matrix. The limit of detection was 0.5 ng/g for the electrochemiluminescence (ECL) method and 1.5 ng/g for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The detection of nanogram per gram quantities of ricin spiked into retail samples of ground beef provides approximately 10,000-fold greater sensitivity than required to detect a toxic dose of ricin (>1 mg) in a 100 g sample.