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Toxins (Basel). 2010 Jan;2(1):24-53. doi: 10.3390/toxins2020024. Epub 2010 Jan 7.

Sensing the deadliest toxin: technologies for botulinum neurotoxin detection.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.

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  • Toxins (Basel). 2010 Jan;2(1):93-4.


Sensitive and rapid detection of botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs), the most poisonous substances known to date, is essential for studies of medical applications of BoNTs and detection of poisoned food, as well as for response to potential bioterrorist threats. Currently, the most common method of BoNT detection is the mouse bioassay. While this assay is sensitive, it is slow, quite expensive, has limited throughput and requires sacrificing animals. Herein, we discuss and compare recently developed alternative in vitro detection methods and assess their ability to supplement or replace the mouse bioassay in the analysis of complex matrix samples.


ELISA; FRET; botulinum neurotoxin; botulism; detection; endopeptidase; immuno-PCR; lateral flow test; mass spectrometry; mouse lethality assay

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