Application of magnetic beads in bioassays

Biotechnology (N Y). 1993 Jan;11(1):60-3. doi: 10.1038/nbt0193-60.


This review outlines the possibilities of magnetic separation techniques and the application of magnetic beads in bioassays. By linking monoclonal antibodies or DNA to magnetic beads, or by using magnetic beads coated with streptavidin, a specific interaction with the corresponding target is ensured. By means of an external magnet, the recovery of material for further studies is greatly simplified. Magnetic beads have proven valuable in cell separations, for example, removal of tumor cells from bone marrow and isolation of lymphoid cells from peripheral blood, and for the isolation, identification and genetic analysis of specific nucleic acid sequences (DNA or RNA) and for isolation of DNA binding proteins. In addition, some of these techniques have also proven to be useful in the detection of specific nucleic acids from viruses or bacteria.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Biological Assay / instrumentation
  • Biological Assay / methods*
  • Bone Marrow Purging / methods
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Separation / methods*
  • DNA
  • DNA Replication
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • Magnetics
  • RNA, Messenger / isolation & purification
  • Streptavidin


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • DNA
  • Streptavidin