An ELISA with Broad Specificity for Cyanobaterial Hepatotoxins

Tech ID: 27257 / UC Case 1999-398-0

Brief Description

Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) produce toxic chemical substances, which attack the liver. These toxins are call hepatotoxins and are found in fresh or brackish water worldwide. To prevent ingestion of harmful toxins in drinking water, researchers at UCI have developed an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) that detects more than 100 distinct chemical forms of cyanobacterial hepatotoxins.

Full Description

Large algae blooms in water sources such as Lake Erie produce unsafe levels of toxins. These toxins, known as hepatotoxins, are toxic to humans, other mammals, and to fish and can damage the liver. In order to detect the levels of these toxins in water sources, researchers at UCI raised antibodies against a chemical structure that is shared by this group of toxins. From these antibodies a competitive assay called an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed. The ELISA detects most cyanobacterial hepatotoxins, of which there are more than 100, with equal sensitivity and has been used to initially identify and monitor an algae outbreak in Lake Erie (August 2015).


§ Can detect over 100 chemical forms of cyanobacterial hepatotoxins

§ Broad specificity of ELISA allows for detection of most if not all toxic cyanobacteria

§ Faster, simpler, more general, and less expensive than alternatives

§ Detects cyanobacteria at levels 10 times lower the amount allowable in drinking water

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 6,967,240 11/22/2005 1999-398

State Of Development

ELISA detects more than 100 distinct chemical forms of cyanobacterial hepatotoxins with equal sensitivity. It has been successfully used to identify and monitor an algae outbreak in Lake Erie in August 2015.

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