Detecting the Presence of Pork in Minced Meat Using an Immunochromatographic Rapid Test

Wait a minute, immuno-what again? That is one long and mouthful word.

It's Immunochromatography. A technique used to detect the presence of specific substances in a sample. It works by using antibodies that bind to the substance of interest and a color-changing reaction to indicate the presence or absence of the substance.

In the case of detecting pork in minced meat, specific antibodies that bind to pork proteins are used. The minced meat sample is placed on a strip with the antibodies embedded in it. If pork is present in the sample, it binds to the antibodies embedded in it. If pork is present in the sample, it binds to the antibodies, causing a color change on the strip that can be easily detected. This technique is commonly used in the food industry to ensure that products are not contaminated with unwanted substances, such as pork in products marketed to those who avoid it for religious or dietary reasons.


Similar Method for Detecting COVID-19 Infection

Just like how immunochromatography is used to detect the presence of pork in minced meat, it is also used in self-test RTK kits for detecting the COVID-19 virus. Users can take a nasal swab and place it on a strip with the antibodies that will react if the virus is present in the sample. A color-changing reaction on the strip will indicate the presence or absence of the virus, just like how it would indicate the presence or absence of pork in the minced meat.

Detailed Explanation with a Diagram

Next, we're going to explain the principles behind immunochromatography using the following diagram from an existing publication. See if you can sort it all out and make yourself understand the whole concept - sure is magnificent, Subhaanallah!

Principle of immunochromatography. This drawing shows lateral flow to detect an antigen. The specimen containing the antigen (Analyte) is placed on the sample pad. The antigen, with the fluid, moves to the conjugate pad where it is bound by a labelled antibody specific to the targeted antigen. The conjugate pad also contains labelled antibodies nonspecific to the antigen to be detected. Antigen-antibody complexes migrate through the nitrocellulose membrane and reach the 'Test line' area. In this area, antigen-specific antibodies are immobilized to catch the antigen-antibody complexes. When antigen-antibody complexes accumulate in this area, the line becomes visible to the naked eye. The non-specific antibodies also migrate and pass the 'Test line' to reach the 'Control line' area and that line also becomes visible. The test is considered positive only when the two lines (T and C) are visible. (Reproduced from Paulini et al. [82]).

Immunochromatography is a technique used to detect the presence of a particular substance, called an analyte, in a sample. In the case of detecting pork in minced meat, the analyte would be the pork protein, and in COVID-19 self-test RTK kits, the analyte would be the virus that causes COVID-19.

The immunochromatography technique involves using antibodies that are specific to the analyte. These antibodies are coated onto a strip that is made up of several components:

1. Sample pad: This is where the sample you want to test is placed. In the case of detecting pork in minced meat, this would be the minced meat sample, while in Covid-19 self-test RTK kits, this would be a nasal swab.

2. Conjugate pad: This is a pad that contains antibodies that are conjugated or linked to a tag, such as gold particles. These antibodies recognize another part of the analyte and will bind to it if it is present.

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3. Nitrocellulose membrane: This is a membrane that has been coated with antibodies that recognize the tag that is attached to the conjugated antibodies in the conjugate pad. These antibodies are arranged in a specific way to create a test line and a control line.

4. Wicking pad: This is a pad that helps draw the sample through the strip, allowing the antibodies to react with the analyte.

When the sample is added to the strip, it will move along the strip through the conjugate pad, where the conjugated antibodies will bind to the analyte if it is present. The sample will then move further along the strip to the nitrocellulose membrane. Here, the tag that is attached to the conjugated antibodies will interact with the antibodies coated on the membrane, forming a visible line.

If the analyte is present, it will bind to the conjugated antibodies and create a visible line at the test line. The control line is a separate line that confirms that the test has worked properly. It will always be visible as long as the test has been run correctly. If the test shows a line at the test line and the control line, then this is considered a valid test and indicates the presence of the analyte, indicating a positive test result.

Where Can I Get Such Pork Detection Kit?

Such kits can be sourced online from a variety of suppliers. One that we found is supplied by Iftitah Solutions (M) Sdn. Bhd., named the "RapidTest" for pork meat test. Those interested may contact them for stock availability and further details.


Finally ...

In conclusion, immunochromatography is a valuable tool used in numerous fields to detect the presence of analytes in a sample. Whether it's detecting pork in minced meat or the virus that causes COVID-19, the key principle of the technique remains the same. By using antibodies that can recognize specific parts of the analyte, and tagging them with certain compounds to create a visible signal when a positive result is obtained, immunochromatography helps to provide fast and reliable results. This technique has revolutionized the way we diagnose and detect various diseases, making it an important tool in medicine and the culinary arts alike.


Disclaimer: The content of this post has been written to the best of the author's abilities based on online sources and personal research. However, being a nonprofessional in this field, the information provided may contain errors or inaccuracies. Therefore, the reader is urged to use their discretion and their own research before relying on the information presented in this post. Ameen Chefs PLT cannot be held responsible for any actions taken based on the content of this post.


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