A 26-kDa antigen has been shown to be a dominant antibody target in Mycobacterium bovis-infected cattle. In this study, that antigen was used as an immunogen to raise a panel of mouse monoclonal antibodies. The majority of those bound to native protein with a molecular mass of 26 kDa and to recombinant MPB83, strongly suggesting that MPB83 is an important B-cell antigenic target in bovine tuberculosis. In order to provide assessment of the potential of measuring antibody responses to the native protein, one monoclonal antibody, 1F11, was incorporated into an enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay format to trap antigen from a crude bacterial extract. Despite some disadvantages of this format, serum samples from cattle which had been infected experimentally with M. bovis, and from tuberculin skin-test-negative and -positive field cattle were tested for the presence of antibodies. Data from the skin-test-negative cattle allowed an arbitrary cut-off value to be established and, under these conditions, test sensitivity and specificity were estimated at 37.5 and 89%, respectively. These results indicate potential for MPB83 in the development of assays for serological diagnosis of bovine tuberculosis.