In the last episode, we went over all available allergen testing methods. In Episode 6, we’ll be focusing solely on allergen-specific lateral-flow devices. These are qualitative or semi-quantitative immunochromatographic tests, based on the ELISA technique.
The kits normally contain sterile surface swabs, extraction buffers, dilution buffers, strip tests, disposable pipettes, disposable scoops and sample vials. The four main steps involved are:
- Sample preparation and protein extraction
- Reading results
The video explains the testing and result reading steps in detail but ultimately the test strips consist of four zones:
- The sample pad,
- the conjugate pad,
- the test zone, and
- the wicking pad.
The sample extract, containing the target protein, flow from one pad to the next via capillary action and the final zone simply serves as a reservoir for the leftover sample extract.
Allergen-specific lateral flow devices, when used with care, are a valuable tool to assess the efficacy of cleaning and to screen raw ingredients where appropriate.
In the 7th and final episode, we’ll inform you about the total protein indicator kits or total protein swabs, which are designed to detect protein on equipment surfaces.