Immunoassays and Environmental Studies
G. Płaza, K. Ulfig, A.J. Tien
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Institute for the Ecology of Industrial Areas, Kossutha 6, 40-833 Katowice, Poland
*Savannah River Technology Center, Environmental Biotechnology Section, Blg 704-8T, Aiken, S.C. USA 29808
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2000;9(4):231–236
Immunoassays (immunochemical methods - IMAs) are now being seen as useful analytical tools, and supplements to conventional analytical methods: gas chromatography - GC and high performance liquid chromatography - HPLC. Immunochemical methods provide rapid, sensitive, and cost effective analyses for a variety of environmental contaminants. The development of the methods is multidisciplinary. IMAs combine principles of immunology and chemistry into tests that are used by scientists in practically every disciplines, including fields as diverse as molecular biology and environmental science. All immunoassays rely on the interaction between an antibody as analytical reagents and a target analytes (antigen). Environmental immunoassays have been developed and evaluated for analytes including major classes of pesticides, organic compounds as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pentachlorophenols (PCPs), BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene), dioxins and furans, and some inorganics, for example cadmium, lead, mercury, and microbial toxins.
This paper provides an overview on the possibilites of immunoassays as a detection method for environmental contaminants. The principles and the history of the immunoassay methodology are reviewed.