An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the detection of Rathayibacter toxicus, the bacterium involved in annual ryegrass toxicity, in hay.
An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for Rathayibacter toxicus is described. The development of a monoclonal antibody for a specific antigen from R. toxicus and a polyclonal antibody raised against the same R. toxicus preparation enabled a capture assay format. The assay is specific for a soluble polysaccharide produced by the bacterium and was found to be sensitive enough to detect antigen equivalent to less than one gall per kilogram of hay. The applicability of the assay to samples of pasture or hay is demonstrated. Cost-effective testing of large numbers of samples for the presence of R. toxicus is possible with the ELISA. This will assist stockowners, hay producers, and hay exporters in the management of the risk of annual ryegrass toxicity.