• Gluten detection;
  • prolamins;
  • coeliac disease;
  • monoclonal antibody


Of a series of monoclonal antibodies prepared to cereal proteins, two antibodies with specificity for low-mobility, heat-stable prolamins in wheat and related cereals were investigated as possible probes for a test for gluten in cooked or processed foods. Urea-based solvents were found to be superior to isopropanol or sodium dodecylsulphate extractants in allowing sensitive detection of trace amounts of prolamins. The antibodies detected bread and durum wheat and rye prolamins most strongly, followed by barley then oats; detection of maize and rice was quite weak. This selectivity is suitable for a test for prolamins toxic to coeliac-disease patients. Several enzyme-labelled second antibodies, for detection of monoclonal antibody bound to cereal protein, were found to be unsuitable reagents since an appreciable fraction of the second antibodies bound directly to the cereal proteins. Sensitive, artifact-free detection of antibody binding could be performed using the peroxidase-antiperoxidase technique or by direct conjugation of horseradish peroxidase to the monoclonal antibodies.