Immunomagnetic detection of Bacillus stearothermophilus spores in food and environmental samples

Michael R. Blake, Bart C Weimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


There are currently no methods for the rapid and sensitive detection of bacterial spores that could be used to direct raw materials containing high spore loads away from products that pose a food safety risk. Existing methods require an overnight incubation, cannot detect spores below 105 CFU/ml, or are not specific to particular species. This work describes a method to specifically detect < 104 CFU of bacterial spores per ml within 2 h. Polyclonal antibodies to Bacillus stearothermophilus spores were attached to 2.8-μm-diameter magnetic polystyrene beads by using a polythreonine cross- linker via the antibody carbohydrate moiety. A biotin-avidin-amplified sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay coupled to a fluorescent substrate was used to quantitate captured spores. The concentration of B. stearothermophilus spores in samples was linearly correlated to fluorescent activity (r2 = 0.99) with a lower detection limit of 8 x 103 CFU/ml and an upper detection limit of 8 x 105 CFU/ml. The detection limits are not fixed and can be changed by varying the immunomagnetic bead concentration. Several food and environmental samples were tested to demonstrate the versatility of the assay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1643-1646
Number of pages4
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Biotechnology
  • Microbiology


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