An enzyme-linked ligand binding assay (ELBA) was devised to measure the interaction between bacteria and human (H) or bovine (B) lactoferrin (Lf) linked to horseradish peroxidase. Reagents were calibrated for optimum colour development with -phenylenediamine as chromophore and organisms that were either positive or negative in a radioisotope-labelled ligand binding assay (RLBA) with I-Lf. Good correlation of Lf binding (r = 0·89) was found between ELBA and RLBA with 169 randomly selected strains of . A semi-quantitative scoring system for ELBA, corresponding to a similar system for RLBA, was established and shown to be valid for 517 strains from seven species of bacterial pathogens. ELBA was used to measure bacterial Lf binding-saturation and displacement kinetics and shown to be comparable with RLBA. ELBA may be a suitable method for examining the binding of Lf to bacteria without the need for radioactive isotopes.


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