Development of a sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for detection of buckwheat residues in food

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Buckwheat is a pseudocereal (an eudicot with seed qualities and uses similar to those of monocot cereals, family Poaceae) that is consumed in some Asian countries as a staple, and in some western countries as a health food. Allergic reactions to buckwheat are common in some countries. The objective was to develop a specific and sensitive sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect traces of buckwheat that might inadvertently contaminate other foods in order to assure accurate labeling and consumer protection. Buckwheat-specific antibodies produced in 3 species of animals were tested for specificity and titer by direct ELISA and immunoblot. A sandwich ELISA was developed utilizing pooled rabbit antibuckwheat sera to capture buckwheat proteins and pooled goat antibuckwheat sera, followed by enzyme-labeled rabbit antigoat immunoglobulin G (IgG), to detect bound buckwheat proteins. The lower limit of quantification (LOQ) of the sandwich ELISA was 2 parts per million (ppm) of buckwheat in the presence of complex food matrices. The ELISA is highly specific with no cross-reactivity to any of 80 food ingredients and matrices tested. Validation studies conducted with buckwheat processed into noodles and muffins showed greater than 90% and 60% recovery, respectively. The percent recovery of buckwheat from noodles was similar to that achieved with a commercial buckwheat ELISA kit (ELISA Systems Pty. Ltd., Windsor, Queensland, Australia) at high buckwheat concentrations. However, the sensitivity of this ELISA was greater than the commercial ELISA. This newly developed ELISA is sufficiently specific and sensitive to detect buckwheat residues in processed foods to protect buckwheat-allergic subjects from potential harm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)T110-T117
JournalJournal of food science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Allergen labeling
  • Allergy
  • Buckwheat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science

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