Journal of toxicology and environmental health. Part A

Development and application of mold antigen-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) to quantify airborne antigen exposure.

PMID 22994572


The aim of our study was to develop specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) and apply these to assess mold antigen exposure in composting plants. Sandwich ELISAs based on polyclonal antibodies to Aspergillus fumigatus (Af), Penicillium chrysogenum (Pc), and Cladosporium herbarum (Ch) antigens were developed and validated. Reactivity to 18 different mold species was tested. To optimize extraction procedure, inhalable dust samples taken by a parallel sampler were extracted with or without homogenization. In 31 composting plants stationary pumps were installed at 4 sites to collect 124 inhalable dust samples. The newly developed ELISAs were used in addition to an anti β-1,3-glucan ELISA to quantify mold antigens. The Cladosporium ELISA showed less than 0.04% reactivity to extracts from other fungal genera, while the Af ELISA demonstrated a reactivity of up to 3.6% and the Pc ELISA reacted up to 11% to other mold species. Extraction of parallel sampled filters gave higher antigen amounts with homogenization. The increase was highest for Pc-antigens, followed by Af-antigens, and lowest for Ch-antigens. Mean lower detection limits of homogenized inhalable dust samples were 5 ng/m(3) (Af), 0.6 ng/m(3) (Pc), 0.2 ng/m(3) (Ch), and 0.6 ng/m(3) (β-1,3-glucan). The ELISAs were able to detect antigens in 43% (Af), 37% (Pc), 94% (Ch), or 100% (β-1,3-glucan) of the 124 airborne dust samples. Inhalable dust, β-1,3-glucan, and Af-, Pc-, and Ch-antigen concentrations were significantly correlated. The newly developed mold antigen ELISAs are thus able to measure airborne exposure levels in composting plants and differentiate between distinct fungi genera.

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β-1,3-Glucan from Euglena gracilis