SIDEBAR: Selected Suppliers of Immunoassays and Assay Systems

Immunoassays combine principles of immunology and chemistry into tests that are used by scientists in practically every discipline, including fields as diverse as molecular biology and environmental science. In research applications, immunoassays such as immunoblotting (detecting membrane-bound proteins), immunohistochemistry (cell or tissue staining), and enzyme immunoassays provide a sensitive and specific means of detecting target substances.

Some investigators are even taking the technology on the road. Scientists with several federal agencies-including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the United States Department of Agriculture-are developing immunoassays to detect toxic chemicals at hazardous waste sites, identify minute amounts of pesticide in water, and rapidly recognize bacterial pathogens in food. Immunoassays are simple to perform and portable enough to take to a testing site, which might be a former industrial landfill or a polluted stream.

Although the various types...

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