EDTA-released outer-membrane antigen complexes were prepared from 172 laboratory and reference strains and 43 fresh clinical or faecal isolates representing 20 species or subspecies of , together with 13 species of other genera. These antigens were titrated against antisera to whole, live cells of 21 species or subspecies of Bacteroidaceae in an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The presence of species-specific antigens was investigated and cross reactions between species were noted. Results showed that a high proportion of the species possess species-specific antigens with little significant cross reactivity.

We believe that the ELISA system described here detects antigens that represent the whole cell surface of bacteroides organisms. We have exploited the sensitivity of the system and its quantitative potential to define approaches for those wishing to use serological approaches for either the identification of species or for the titration of serum antibodies in patients with a possible bacteroides infection.


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