Development of a monoclonal antibody detection assay for species-specific identification of abalone

Andreas L. Lopata, Thomas Luijx, Bartha Fenemore, Neville A. Sweijd, Peter A. Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Species identification based on biochemical and molecular techniques has a broad range of applications. These include compliance enforcement, the management and conservation of marine organisms, and commercial quality control. Abalone poaching worldwide and illegal trade in abalone products have increased mainly because of the attractive prices obtained and caused a sharp decline in stocks. Alleged poachers have been acquitted because of lack of evidence to correctly identify species. Therefore, a robust method is required that would identify tissue of abalone origin to species level. The aim of this study was to develop immunologic techniques, using monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, to identify 10 different abalone species and subspecies from South Africa, the United States, Australia, and Japan. The combination of 3 developed monoclonal antibodies to South African abalone (Haliotis midae) enabled differentiation between most of the 10 species including the subspecies H. diversicolor supertexta and H. diversicolor diversicolor. In a novel approach, using antibodies of patients with allergy to abalone, the differentiation of additional subspecies, H. discus discus and H. discus hannai, was possible. A field-based immunoassay was developed to identify confiscated tissue of abalone origin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-462
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Biotechnology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2002
Externally publishedYes


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