The preparation of an immunosensor for the detection of microcystins and nodularins by immobilisation of a labelled antibody onto a polymer modified electrode
South African dams and reservoirs are increasingly showing the propensity to support sustained populations of Cyanobacteria (blue green algae). These photosynthetic bacteria occur throughout the world and can rapidly form blooms in eutrophic water systems. The occurrence of these photosynthetic bacteria, in our dwindling drinking water source dams, poses a serious, economic, as well as a health, threat to and arid country like South Africa due to is potential to produce of toxic metabolites like Microcystins and Nodularins (MCN). MCN's are cyclic peptides toxins, harmful to humans and animals, and its toxicological mechanism is based on a strong inhibition of protein phosphatises in the liver. This may lead to severe liver damage and increased tumour development. Rural communities consuming untreated water in South Africa are most at risk due the high toxicity of MCN’s at low doses.We endeavour to develop an immunosensor for the detection of Microcystins and nodularins using anti-sheep IgG antibody labelled with horseradish peroxidase (HRP) immobilised on a modified glassy-carbon polymer surface. The immunosensor will be applied to water samples for MCN’s as a group of compounds recognised by the ADDA moiety common to all MCN congeners. The immunosensor will provide immediate confirmation and quantification of MCN’s in situ. A competitive Enzyme Linked Immuno-Sorbant Assay (ELISA) and High Performance liquid Chromatography (HPLC) will be used to validate results of our immunosensor. Elisa's are widely used as a screening test method for MCN's. The antibody-antigen specificity forms the bases for the recognition of target compound (MCN's) by antibodies which bind to a compound which is labelled with a colour indicator, and quantified by spectrophotometry.