Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) differentiated between the antigens of the type strains of tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) and those of the avocado isolate (TMV-A). The ELISA specificity in the heterologous antibody systems was affected mainly by the behaviour of the free phase (conjugate antibodies) whereas antibodies used for coating cross-reacted as in double-diffusion tests. Binding of bovine serum albumin to the TMV and TMV-A antibodies used for coating impaired their activity when tested in homologous reactions but did not make them completely specific in the heterologous system. The complexes of both TMV and TMV-A antigens bound to their homologous and heterologous coated antibodies were stable to acid dissociation. Some possible explanations of ELISA specificity are discussed.


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