Immunoassays enable the presence of antigens* to be detected in a sample (food that has been ground and diluted, or a sample taken from a work surface in a food production environment, etc.). The principle of the immunological reaction is founded on the recognition of a specific antibody and antigen in the sample being tested.
Based on this antigen-antibody reaction, immunoassays make it possible to:
- detect bacterial contamination of food products (Listeria, Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Campylobacter, etc.),
- detect powerful toxins, remaining after pathogenic bacteria have been killed during food processing (e.g. staphylococcal enterotoxins).
* Antigen: a substance that is foreign to the body and recognized by the antibodies or cells of the immune system, and that can trigger an immune response. Antigens are usually proteins, polysaccharides or their lipid derivatives.
** Antibody: a complex protein secreted by the cells of the immune system in order to detect and neutralize antigens. Each antibody recognizes a specific antigen.
- Bacteriophages are viruses programmed exclusively to identify and infect a specific type of bacteria. They are among the most abundant life forms on earth.
- Bacteriophage technology involves the production and use of just the protein tail from the bacteriophage, which has fibers resembling legs that they use to attach to their bacterial host. The technology simulates the virus’ attack on the bacteria: the tail proteins recognize the targeted bacteria and bind to it.
- bioMérieux was the first to use bacteriophage proteins for the targeted capture and detection of bacteria in a sample for microbiological control.
This technology, integrated in tests for our VIDAS® immunoassay system, brings:
- detection tests with unrivalled performance levels (sensitivity, specificity, ease of use),
- results obtained within 24 hours, instead of several days as is the case with reference methods.
Why they’re important
Over and above the need for ever- more specific and early detection of microbial contamination in food products, the challenge today is to help industries better protect consumers through:
- early detection of contamination, starting with raw materials,
- control of production processes and costs,
- non-commercialization of contaminated products that could lead to serious, or even fatal, consequences for consumers' health.
bioMérieux's product offering
With nearly 4,000 VIDAS instruments around the world in agri-food quality control laboratories, bioMérieux has the largest installed base of immunoassay automated testing systems.
- Launched in 1991, VIDAS has demonstrated outstanding longevity, owing to its exceptionally robust design and constant development to meet laboratories' needs.
- Its simple concept (one strip and one SPR per test) makes it possible to incorporate new technologies, such as bacteriophages, and to expand its menu, which already comprises about 15 kits specifically designed for the agri-food sector.
- All VIDAS tests are submitted for validation to official international organizations (AOAC International, AFNOR, ISO, etc.), a guarantee of their performance.