Antibody-based sensors for heavy metal ions

Biosens Bioelectron. 2001 Dec;16(9-12):799-809. doi: 10.1016/s0956-5663(01)00223-8.


Competitive immunoassays for Cd(II), Co(II), Pb(II) and U(VI) were developed using identical reagents in two different assay formats, a competitive microwell format and an immunosensor format with the KinExA 3000. Four different monoclonal antibodies specific for complexes of EDTA-Cd(II), DTPA-Co(II), 2,9-dicarboxyl-1,10-phenanthroline-U(VI), or cyclohexyl-DTPA-Pb(II) were incubated with the appropriate soluble metal-chelate complex. In the microwell assay format, the immobilized version of the metal-chelate complex was present simultaneously in the assay mixture. In the KinExA format, the antibody was allowed to pre-equilibrate with the soluble metal-chelate complex, then the incubation mixture was rapidly passed through a microcolumn containing the immobilized metal-chelate complex. In all four assays, the KinExA format yielded an assay with 10-1000-fold greater sensitivity. The enhanced sensitivity of the KinExA format is most likely due to the differences in the affinity of the monoclonal antibodies for the soluble versus the immobilized metal-chelate complex. The KinExA 3000 instrument and the Cd(II)-specific antibody were used to construct a prototype assay that could correctly assess the concentration of cadmium spiked into a groundwater sample. Mean analytical recovery of added Cd(II) was 114.25+/-11.37%. The precision of the assay was satisfactory; coefficients of variation were 0.81-7.77% and 3.62-14.16% for within run and between run precision, respectively.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Biosensing Techniques / instrumentation
  • Biosensing Techniques / methods*
  • Biosensing Techniques / statistics & numerical data
  • Cadmium / analysis
  • Chelating Agents
  • Cobalt / analysis
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Immunoassay / methods
  • Lead / analysis
  • Metals, Heavy / analysis*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Uranium / analysis
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Chelating Agents
  • Metals, Heavy
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Cobalt
  • Uranium