Novel Blood Test Quickly and Accurately Detects Pesticide Exposure

A simple, fast, and inexpensive blood test accurately detected the level of
exposure to potentially harmful pesticides among agricultural workers,
according to a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
(NIOSH)-funded study at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, and
the University of Washington in Seattle. The study appeared in the journal
Biosensors and Bioelectronics.

Pesticides are a common agricultural aid that can help increase harvests. The
problem is that over-exposure to some pesticides can cause serious health
problems such as nerve damage, so worker protection, including exposure
monitoring, is critical. Currently available tests for exposure monitoring are
expensive, time-consuming, and require special equipment and trained personnel.
To address this issue, the scientists created and verified a simple,
inexpensive blood test that could be used to quickly diagnose exposure among
agricultural workers. The so-called sandwich ELISA test is unique in its
ability to measure the level of immune response-triggering molecules, or
antigens. Much like the commercially available pregnancy tests, this test
comprises a treated strip that reacts in the presence of specific protein
molecules, or enzymes. In this case, the treated strip changed color in the
presence of enzymes produced by the liver after exposure to phosphorus-based

To verify the test's accuracy, the scientists measured the level of pesticide
exposure in 124 blood samples from study participants who had worked with
pesticides in orchards or on cotton farms in Washington State or Pakistan. They
found that the test accurately and quickly measured pesticide exposure by
detecting pesticide-related enzyme activity and the total amount of enzyme in
the blood. With the goal of making the test commercially available, the
scientists now are verifying its accuracy and developing software to enable its
use in the field.

Further Information

AplusA-online.de - Source: Biosensors and Bioelectronics