Veterinary Laboratory Agency (VLA)
Luddington, Warwickshire UK-CV 37 9SJ (United Kingdom)
The earliest case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy was confirmed in the United Kingdom in 1987. The initial UK feed ban, prohibiting the use of ruminant meat and bone meal in ruminant rations was quickly introduced in 1988 based on strong epidemiological data linking feeding practices to the new and emerging disease.
This initial ban has subsequently been tightened year on year based on growing scientific information. Against this moving backdrop of legislation scientific establishments across the world have strived to find and implement sensitive, specific, and reliable test methods to monitor and enforce, compliance with this legislation.
Limited detection targets, due to rigorous processing standards, poor quality raw materials, and the complexity of feed ingredient matrices in the test sample, have made test development very difficult and the search for an “ideal” test is still ongoing.
The use of antibody based test methods for protein detection has played a significant role in the screening for processed animal protein contamination in animal feeds.
This presentation will discuss the main points for consideration when embarking on immunological test development in this field. This will include the features we should be looking for when developing a test, the various elements that need to be covered as part of the test development and a brief overview of various testing platforms including the benefits and drawbacks of each method.
Data will also be presented outlining work carried out at VLA Luddington to investigate the suitability of a time-resolved fluorometry (DELFIA) testing platform for use in this area.