AAT Bioquest

Do I have to use microplates for ELISA?

Posted March 21, 2019

What if I don’t have a microplate reader?


For those researchers without a microplate reader (such as those working in the field or those in a classroom setting) there are still experimental options for those wishing to make use of ELISA for their work. Although most variations of ELISA do require microplates, the Tube ELISA does not, and neither does the Fast Dot ELISA variation.

The Tube ELISA variation uses the titular test tube or other glass vial, a centrifuge, and a basic spectrophotometer to read the results.

The Fast Dot ELISA (commonly shortened to FD-ELISA) is possibly the most publicly-known variety of this family of tests, used for at-home pregnancy tests and fertility tests, as well as infection test strips for field biologists and medical diagnosticians. Instead of the microplate, which for the other types of ELISA provides a solid surface for the relevant antibodies to permanently adhere to, this role is served by nitrocellulose sheets. No further equipment is necessary, as the colorimetric results can be read by the human eye.

Additional resources

Tube Based ELISA for Classroom Use

Rapid Diagnosis using Dot ELISA

Dot ELISA used in field health surveys