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What does my lab need to run ELISA?

Posted April 2, 2019


You will require a solid experimental surface to adhere the antigen (with associated pipettes and tools), instrumentation to read the results of the assay, cell culture and incubation materials, and the physical space and time to perform ELISA. There is room for adaptation for ELISA tests, but most types require a microplate reader with appropriate plates (black for fluorescent assays, white or colorless for colorimetric, typically) or even just nitrocellulose sheets to provide a solid surface for permanent adherence of the antigen. A solid surface is necessary, since later washing steps (to dispose of unbound antigens or other nontargeted proteins) will remove everything else from the sample. The samples will need to incubate after the wells have been imbued with the analyte, to allow the culture to generate enough of a response to be measurable.

Your lab will also require the materials of standard cell culture preparation and incubation. The type of results will need to be analyzed using one or more of a range of machines from a standard spectrophotometer (for simple, colorimetric assays) to multimodal microplate readers to read fluorescence or luminescence results. For ELISA that only require qualitative data (The presence or absence of an analyte in the sample, such as the classic yes/no of a pregnancy test) the results might only require the human eye to see the color change indicating a positive or negative result in a specific microwell or dot.

ELISA is relatively simple and nonhazardous to perform, but some labs lack the space or personnel necessary to prepare the background requirements of any cell culture, such as stock buffer preparation, production of enzyme labels to bind to target antigens, or other common materials. Assess your current instrumentation and lab resources along with your experimental needs when obtaining ELISA materials. AAT Bioquest is prepared to work with your inventory and resources to best accomplish your experimental goals.

Additional resources

ELISA Description

Amplite™ Fluorimetric ELISA Assay Kit *Red Fluorescence*