Development of an ELISA Specific for Listeria monocytogenes Using a Polyclonal Antibody Raised Against a Cell Extract Containing Internalin B

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We have developed a new enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) that is specific to the foodborne pathogenic micro-organism Listeria monocytogenes. It is based on an antibody raised against an L. monocytogenes cell preparation optimized for extraction of internalin B. Only in a sandwich ELISA format was the protein A-purified antibody specific to L. monocytogenes. In a competitive ELISA format, the antibody recognizes other Listeria species. The sandwich ELISA shows no recognition of L. innocua, L. ivanovii, L. welshimeri, L. seeligeri, or L. grayii. It has a minimum detectable level for L. monocytogenes of log10 6.37 cfu ml−1 in pure culture, is reproducible, and is unaffected by the presence of high numbers (approximately log10 8.0 cfu ml−1) of the other Listeria species. Possible reasons for the format-dependent specificity are discussed. When the ELISA was applied to milk samples inoculated with L. monocytogenes reference material (5 cfu ml−1), there was a strong response to the enrichment cultures. The new assay may prove useful in detection of L. monocytogenes in enrichment cultures of food samples.

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