An amperometric immunoanalysis system based on monoclonal antibodies immobilized on Sepharose beads and packed into a micro-immunocolumn was developed for the quantification of microcystin-LR. Microcystin-LR (MCLR) was used as a reference microcystin variant. Inside the immunocolumn, free microcystins and microcystin-horseradish peroxidase (tracer) were sequentially captured by the immobilized antibodies, and the detection was performed electrochemically using Super AquaBlue ELISA substrate 2,2′-azinobis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-sulfonic acid) (ABTS). The ABTS●+
generated by enzymatic oxidation of ABTS was electrochemically determined at a carbon working electrode by applying a reduction potential set at 0.4 V versus Ag/AgCl reference electrode. The peak current intensity was inversely proportional to the amount of analyte bound to the immunocolumn. The amperometric flow-ELISA system, which was automatically controlled through the CapSenzeTM
(Lund, Sweden) computer software, enabled determination of MCLR as low as 0.01 µg/L. The assay time was very short (20 min for one assay cycle). In addition, the electrochemical signals were not significantly affected by possible interferences which could be present in the real samples. Along with the simplicity of automation, this makes the developed method a promising tool for use in water quality assessment.
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