Conclusion

This article has only begun to scratch the surface of all the research concerning immunoassay development for topics of interest in agriculture and the food industry. This is a day and age where consumers express concern over the quality of the food. With an ever-increasing awareness of the importance of a balanced diet and perceived dangers from additives and contaminants, as well as increased legislation, the need for the ability to test large numbers of samples routinely for the presence of potentially dangerous or offending substances becomes highly apparent. The selectivity and sensitivity of immunoassays make them excellent candidates as tools for routine analysis. ELISAs are highly appropriate assays for analyzing food and agricultural residues because they can be developed to qualitatively screen for the desired substance or they may be semiquantitative or quantitative. These assays can be cost effective, require little or no expensive equipment, permit rapid throughput of many samples, and can be performed by relatively unskilled personnel. These tests provide excellent accuracy and reproducibility, as well as sensitivity and specificity.

Over the next decade advances in immunoassays will benefit food analysts. It appears that those test formats that are the most user friendly for the end user will gain a great deal of ground. The less complex a test is to perform the more attractive it will be to nonlaboratory personnel (farmer, grain inspector, etc). Over the next decade it is likely that ELISAs will be routinely used for screening foods and feeds at governmental agencies as well as by quality-control chemists in the private sector. It is truly an exciting time to work in an area where so much evolution in analytical technology is occurring.

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