A polyclonal antibody raised to spores reacted strongly and specifically with the immunizing strain and to a number of related species of , as determined by dot immunoblotting. An indirect immunomagnetic capture method was developed for the recovery of the target organism from sterile and non-sterile soil, using sheep anti-rabbit M-280 Dynabeads. The effects of different soil blocking agents, antibody labelling concentrations and spore/Dynabead capture times on the recovery of spores were investigated. Pre-blocking of antibody binding sites within the soil, with either 2% partially hydrolysed gelatin or 10% skimmed milk, was essential prior to immunomagnetic capture. Increasing the capture time from 15 to 60 min did not affect spore recovery; however, a 10-fold decline in the magnetic bead concentration did result in a significantly lower recovery of spores from soil. was selectively enriched (1:190-fold) when present as a mixed population with in sterile soil. The indirect immunomagnetic capture method was used to selectively recover S. fragile spores seeded into non-sterile soil, although some background binding of non-target bacteria was noted. The target was successfully recovered from a sterile soil microcosm after 14 d incubation and the capture rate was increased by the inclusion of an initial soil dispersion and biomass concentration procedure, using the ion-exchange resin Chelex 100.


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