Biochemistry, Department of


Date of this Version



Analytical Biochemistry 194 (1991), pp. 381-387.


Copyright © 1991 Academic Press, Inc. Used by permission.


An immunoassay that detects mercuric ions in water at concentrations of 0.5 ppb and above is described. The assay utilizes a monoclonal antibody that binds specifically to mercuric ions immobilized in wells of microtiter plates. Within the range of 0.5-10 ppb mercury, the absorbance in the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is linear to the log of the mercuric ion concentration. The quantitation of mercury by ELISA correlates closely with results from cold-vapor atomic absorption. Other divalent metal cations do not interfere with the assay, although there is interference in the presence of 1 mM chloride ions. The optimum pH for mercury detection is 7.0, although 2 ppb mercury can be detected over a wide pH range. The assay is as sensitive as coldvapor atomic absorption for mercury detection and can be performed with only 100 μl of sample.