An enrichment microsphere immunoassay (MIA) was developed, based on the Luminex xMAP® technology, for the simultaneous (duplex) detection of Pectobacterium atrosepticum (former name Erwinia carotovora subsp. atroseptica) (Pca) and Dickeya dianthicola (former name Erwinia chrysanthemi) (Dcd) in potato plant extracts. Target bacteria in the extracts were enriched for 48 h in a semi-selective broth containing polypectate under low oxygen conditions. Samples were subsequently incubated with antibody-coated colour-coded microspheres (beads) and with secondary antibodies conjugated with Alexa Fluor® 532, a reporter dye. Samples were analyzed with the Luminex analyzer, in which one laser identified each microsphere and another laser the reporter dye conjugated to the secondary antibodies. The assay required minimal sample preparation, could be completed in 1 h, was performed in 96 wells microtitreplates and required no wash steps. The limit of detection for the duplex enrichment MIA was 100¿1000 cfu ml¿1, which was a hundred times lower than of an enrichment-ELISA. Without enrichment, the sensitivity of MIA and ELISA was largely similar and ranged between 106 and 107 cells ml¿1. No difference in sensitivity was found between a MIA in a single or duplex format. In a comparative test with non-infected potato plant extracts and extracts from plants infected with Pca or Dcd, results of the enrichment MIA correlated well with those of the enrichment ELISA and enrichment PCR. These results indicate that MIA can be reliably used for multiplex detection of soft rot Enterbacteriaceae in crude potato plant extracts. The technology is an attractive and cost-effective alternative to other detection methods, including ELISA.
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