Protein based GMO testing


DNA is currently the most favoured method for detecting GMOs. This project, on the other hand, is aiming to extend the usefulness of protein based methods for detecting GMOs.


ELISA (Enzyme Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay) is a biochemical technique using antibodies to detect the presence of a specific protein in a sample. The resulting change in colour is read by a specialised machine equipped with a camera. Researchers are upgrading ELISA tests to become semi-quantitative as well as easier and faster to apply in practical conditions.

Researchers optimize each step of the analytical procedure, e.g. extraction, specificity and affinity of antibodies and tracers in order to increase the sensitivity of the method (i.e. decrease the limit of detection) and simplify the test (e.g. sandwich ELISA test and possibly adaptation for lateral flow devices). Lateral flow devices are modified ELISA testing units that are portable, with a colour change that is easily visible. A specialised reader is applied to get an estimate of the quantity of protein being detected. This should provide more efficient tools for the traceability of Bt crops in the field.

The project also aims to broaden the range of matrices suitable for protein based testing. This should enable authorities to detect residues of Bt proteins or derived fragments in processed foods made with GM crops.


Co-Extra has validated Mon810 antibodies and validated different processing of Mon810


Jean-Michel Wal
Institut National de Recherche Agronomique (INRA), France
Chritine Henry
Central Science Laboratory (CSL) Defra, United Kingdom