Despite the fact that ATP bioluminescence has been used for bacterial detection for a long time, it is only recently that this technique has been adapted for detecting specific pathogens. Due to the fact that ATP is present in all living cells, both eukaryotes and prokaryotes, stage specific isolation of target bacteria prior to ATP assay must be incorporated into analysis. The developed protocols include, as a first step, the recognition and separation of the target bacteria followed by their lysis and bioluminescent assay.
The efficiency of the recognition and separation steps determines the specificity and sensitivity of the whole analysis. The main recognition instruments used in conjunction with the BL assay are antibodies and bacteriophages.
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