Evaluation of three commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits for detection of Shiga toxin

J Food Prot. 2009 Apr;72(4):741-7. doi: 10.4315/0362-028x-72.4.741.


Three commercially available Shiga toxin (Stx) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kits were evaluated for their ability to detect Stx in pure cultures of Stx-producing Escherichia coli (specificity). The detection limits (sensitivity) of each ELISA kit were also evaluated. Seventy-eight Stx-producing E. coli (STEC) isolates that produced Stx1, Stx2, or Stx1 and Stx2 variants were examined in this study. The specificities of the tests were comparable, and the sensitivities of two of the tests (Premier EHEC and rBiopharm Ridascreen Verotoxin Enzyme Immunoassay) were within the same order of magnitude. The ProSpecT Shiga Toxin E. coli Microplate Assay was approximately 10-fold less sensitive. The inability of all three tests to detect the Stx2d and Stx2e variants indicated that some STEC strains may not be detected by Stx ELISA. The ability of the Premier EHEC ELISA to detect toxin in artificially inoculated bovine fecal samples (following enrichment) indicated that this kit may be used to screen cattle for the presence of Stx as an indicator of the presence of STEC. In particular, such a screening method could be useful during the summer, when the number of STEC-positive animals and the number of STEC that they shed increase.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods*
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Shiga Toxin*
  • Shiga-Toxigenic Escherichia coli / metabolism*


  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic
  • Shiga Toxin