The use of immobilized lectins in the separation of Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Listeria and Salmonella spp. from pure cultures and foods

J Appl Bacteriol. 1992 Jul;73(1):41-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.1992.tb04967.x.


Lectins from Helix pomatia, Canavalia ensiformis, Agaricus bisporus and Triticum vulgaris agglutinated cultures of Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Listeria and Salmonella spp. This agglutination was specific as it was inhibited (except with A. bisporus lectin) by the competing sugar substrates. The ability of three of these lectins, immobilized on a variety of supports, to separate these micro-organisms from pure cultures was investigated. Immobilization of the lectins on magnetic microspheres was the most effective method. Immobilized T. vulgaris lectin bound 87-100% of cells from cultures of L. monocytogenes, 80-100% of Staph. aureus, 33-45% of Salmonella spp. and 42-77% of E. coli. The A. bisporus lectin bound 31-63% of cells in cultures of L. monocytogenes, 83% of Staph. aureus but only 3-5% of the salmonella cells. Similarly H. pomatia lectin bound greater than 92% of Staph. aureus and 64% of L. monocytogenes cells but was poor at binding the Gram-negative organisms. This preference for binding Gram-positive organisms was confirmed when mixed cultures were studied. The T. vulgaris lectin was effective in removing L. monocytogenes (43%) and Staph. aureus (26%) from diluted milk and Salmonella (31-54%) from raw egg. Agaricus bisporus lectin removed L. monocytogenes from undiluted milk (10-47%) or ground beef (32-50%).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Bacteriological Techniques*
  • Chromatography, Affinity
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Lectins / metabolism
  • Listeria / isolation & purification
  • Magnetics
  • Microspheres
  • Milk / microbiology*
  • Polystyrenes
  • Salmonella / isolation & purification
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification


  • Lectins
  • Polystyrenes