Application of immunoaffinity columns to mycotoxin analysis

J AOAC Int. 1997 Sep-Oct;80(5):941-9.


Immunoaffinity columns (IACs) are widely used for cleanup and isolation of mycotoxins extracted from foods and biological fluids, particularly aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, and fumonisins. The columns are prepared by binding antibodies specific for a given mycotoxin to a specially activated solid-phase support and packing the support suspended in aqueous buffer solution into a cartridge. The mycotoxin in the extract or fluid binds to the antibody, impurities are removed with water or aqueous solution, and then the mycotoxin is desorbed with a miscible solvent such as methanol. Further separation can be performed with IAC, followed by liquid chromatographic (LC) quantitation, either off-line or on-line in an automated system, or by fluorometry. IACs have been used by laboratories that developed the antibodies but are also available commercially for aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, fumonisins, zearalenone, and deoxynivalenol. Among commercial IACs, Aflatest P is used as the cleanup step in an LC method and in a solution fluorometry method for corn, peanuts, and peanut butter that was adopted as an AOAC INTERNATIONAL Official Method after evaluation by an international collaborative study. As part of a fluorometer-based test kit, aflatest P was further certified by the AOAC Research Institute to measure total aflatoxins in 10 grains and grain products. IACs can concentrate the analyte from a large amount of sample, allowing detection limits at low parts-per-trillion levels in some cases (e.g., for aflatoxin M1 and ochratoxin A in liquid food matrixes). Regeneration of IACs for reuse in aflatoxin, ochratoxin A, fumonisin, and zearalenone analyses has been investigated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aflatoxins / analysis
  • Carboxylic Acids / analysis
  • Chromatography, Affinity*
  • Fumonisins*
  • Mycotoxins / analysis*
  • Ochratoxins / analysis
  • Trichothecenes / analysis
  • Zearalenone / analysis


  • Aflatoxins
  • Carboxylic Acids
  • Fumonisins
  • Mycotoxins
  • Ochratoxins
  • Trichothecenes
  • ochratoxin A
  • fumonisin B1
  • Zearalenone
  • deoxynivalenol