Recent Developments in Immunoassays and Related Methods for the Detection of Xenobiotics

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Very few rapid, cost-effective methods for the analysis of hazardous substances in humans and the environment are available. Immunoassays are among these methods and are becoming established for measurement of toxic materials in the environment. In addition immunoassays are suitable for monitoring human exposure to xenobiotics. Advantages of immunoassays also include sensitivity, specificity, applicability to a wide variety of compounds and adaptability to laboratory or field situations. The use of these assays facilitates development of good models for human exposure, movement of groundwater contaminants, and research on remediation systems. An important objective of our research is to develop assays to assess human exposure to xenobiotics. Metabolites of these xenobiotics may serve as biomarkers in toxicity and exposure assessment studies. Immunoassays for biomarkers include triazine mercapturates, nitrophenols, and pyrethroid metabolites. Traditionally immunoassays have been used as single-analyte methods, but now class-selective and multi-analyte assays for environmentally relevant compounds have been successfully demonstrated. A further step in simplifying and improving sensitivity of assays, as well as the development of field portable devices, is the implementation of near-infrared fluorescence detection. Also developed in this laboratory are assays to detect heavy metals using chelators instead of antibodies.

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ACS Symposium Series

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