Evaluation of two direct immunoassays for rapid detection of petroleum products on marine birds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


To reduce rehabilitation time and improve survival, a practical, objective test is needed to determine if marine birds are contaminated with oil before they enter captivity. The RaPID Assay® and EnviroGardTM immunoassays for detection of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in soil were evaluated for their ability to detect petroleum on feather samples from 30 intermediate fuel oil contaminated and 30 uncontaminated common murres (Uria aalge). Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive value, precision, and time required to run each assay were determined. The RaPID Assay® was 96.7% sensitive and specific, while the EnviroGardTM assay was 93.3% sensitive, and 90.0% specific. Sensitivity decreased at higher dilutions for both assays. Intra-replicate variation was less than 20%. Our evaluation showed that these immunoassays are rapid and cost-effective methods for detecting oil-contamination on the plumage of seabirds, with the EnviroGardTM assay being more practical in most oil spill response situations due to ease of use and rapidity of results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-395
Number of pages8
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002


  • Common murres
  • Immunoassay
  • Oil spills
  • PAH
  • Rehabilitation
  • Uria aalge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Oceanography
  • Pollution


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