Two nanoparticle based adjuvants were assessed for their ability to produce polyclonal antibodies in rabbits to low molecular weight target analytes, i.e. veterinary drugs banned from use in food producing animals. The nanoparticles, Montanide IMS 251 and amphiphilic poly (γ-glutamic acid) were compared against a mineral oil adjuvant, Montanide ISA 50, which had previously been shown to be successful in producing antibodies to haptens whilst being safe to use with respect to the welfare of the host animals. The adjuvants were assessed for their tendency to cause adverse effects to the host animals and by the quality of the antibodies generated in terms of assay sensitivity. None of the three adjuvants employed in the trial generated any measurable adverse effects in the host animals. While the mineral oil adjuvant produced higher titres of antibodies the nanoparticle adjuvants were found to produce antibodies of statistically comparable sensitivity. Based on IC50 values, six antisera displayed potential to detect the required level of the target compounds; five of these were produced by rabbits immunised with the two different nanoparticle adjuvants. As antibody sensitivity is the main performance criteria of an analytical immunoassay, it can be concluded that the nanoparticle adjuvants under evaluation are fit for the purpose described in this study.
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