Experimental Protocol for Detecting Cyanobacteria in Liquid and Solid Samples with an Antibody Microarray Chip

Blanco, Y., Moreno Paz, M., Parro, V. 2017. Experimental Protocol for Detecting Cyanobacteria in Liquid and Solid Samples with an Antibody Microarray Chip. Jove Journal of Visualized Experiments 120, DOI: 10.3791/54994

Global warming and eutrophication make some aquatic ecosystems behave as true bioreactors that trigger rapid and massive cyanobacterial growth; this has relevant health and economic consequences. Many cyanobacterial strains are toxin producers, and only a few cells are necessary to induce irreparable damage to the environment. Therefore, water-body authorities and administrations require rapid and efficient early-warning systems providing reliable data to support their preventive or curative decisions. This manuscript reports an experimental protocol for the in-field detection of toxin-producing cyanobacterial strains by using an antibody microarray chip with 17 antibodies (Abs) with taxonomic resolution (CYANOCHIP). Here, a multiplex fluorescent sandwich microarray immunoassay (FSMI) for the simultaneous monitoring of 17 cyanobacterial strains frequently found blooming in freshwater ecosystems, some of them toxin producers, is described. A microarray with multiple identical replicates (up to 24) of the CYANOCHIP was printed onto a single microscope slide to simultaneously test a similar number of samples. Liquid samples can be tested either by direct incubation with the antibodies (Abs) or after cell concentration by filtration through a 1- to 3-mu m filter. Solid samples, such as sediments and ground rocks, are first homogenized and dispersed by a hand-held ultrasonicator in an incubation buffer. They are then filtered (5 – 20 mu m) to remove the coarse material, and the filtrate is incubated with Abs. Immunoreactions are revealed by a final incubation with a mixture of the 17 fluorescence-labeled Abs and are read by a portable fluorescence detector. The whole process takes around 3 h, most of it corresponding to two 1-h periods of incubation. The output is an image, where bright spots correspond to the positive detection of cyanobacterial markers.

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