Although dicamba has long been one of the most widely used selective herbicides, some U.S. states have banned the sale and use of dicamba because of farmers complaints of drift and damage to nonresistant crops. To prevent illegal use of dicamba and allow monitoring of nonresistant crops, a rapid and sensitive method for detection of dicamba is critical. In this paper, three novel dicamba haptens with an aldehyde group were synthesized, conjugated to the carrier protein via a reductive-amination procedure and an indirect competitive chemiluminescent enzyme immunoassay (CLEIA) for dicamba was developed. The assay showed an IC50 of 0.874 ng/mL which was over 15 times lower than that of the conventional enzyme immunoassay. The immunoassay was used to quantify dicamba concentrations in field samples of soil and soybean obtained from fields sprayed with dicamba. The developed CLEIA showed an excellent correlation with LC-MS analysis in spike-and-recovery studies, as well as in real samples. The recovery of dicamba ranged from 86 to 108% in plant samples and from 105 to 107% in soil samples. Thus, this assay is a rapid and simple analytical tool for detecting and quantifying dicamba levels in environmental samples and potentially a great tool for on-site crop and field monitoring.
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