The utility of microwave irradiation to accelerate the onset of equilibrium and improve ELISA performance was examined using ELISAs for the detection of the plant toxin ricin and gliadin. The ricin ELISA normally requires several one hour incubations at 37 °C, a total assay time of approximately five hours, and employs a complex buffer containing PBS, Tween-20®, and non-fat milk. Different energy levels and pulse designs were compared to the use of abbreviated incubation times at 37 °C for the detection of ricin in food. The use of microwave irradiation had no significant advantage over the application of heat using an oven incubator and performed worse with some foods. In contrast, a gliadin ELISA that relied on 30 min incubation steps at room temperature and a salt-based buffer performed better upon irradiation but also displayed improvement upon incubating the microtiter plate at 37 °C. Whether microwave irradiation was advantageous compared to incubation in an oven was inconclusive. However, by abbreviating the incubation time of the ricin ELISA, it was possible to cut the assay time to less than 2 hours and still display LOD values < 10 ppb and recoveries of 78%–98%.
Garber, E. A. E., & Thole, J. (2015). Application of microwave irradiation and heat to improve gliadin detection and ricin ELISA throughput with food samples. Toxins, 7(6), 2135–2144. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7062135