, Volume 173, Issue 3, pp 330–339

A monoclonal antibody to (S)-abscisic acid: its characterisation and use in a radioimmunoassay for measuring abscisic acid in crude extracts of cereal and lupin leaves

  • S. A. Quarrie
  • P. N. Whitford
  • N. E. J. Appleford
  • T. L. Wang
  • S. K. Cook
  • I. E. Henson
  • B. R. Loveys


A monoclonal antibody produced to abscisic acid (ABA) has been characterised and the development of a radioimmunoassay (RIA) for ABA using the antibody is described. The antibody had a high selectivity for the free acid of (S)-cis, trans-ABA. Using the antibody, ABA could be assayed reliably in the RIA over a range from 100 to 4000 pg (0.4 to 15 pmol) ABA per assay vial. As methanol and acetone affected ABA-antibody binding, water was used to extract ABA from leaves. Water was as effective as aqueous methanol and acetone in extracting the ABA present. Crude aqueous extracts of wheat, maize and lupin leaves could be analysed without serious interference from other immunoreactive material. This was shown by measuring the distribution of immunoreactivity in crude extracts separated by thin-layer chromatography (TLC) and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), or by comparing the assay with physicochemical methods of analysis. Analysis of crude extracts by RIA and either, after TLC purification, by gas chromatography using an electron-capture detector or, after HPLC purification, by combined gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) gave very similar ABA concentrations in the initial leaf samples. However, RIA analysis of crude aqueous extracts of pea seeds resulted in considerable overestimation of the amount of ABA present. Determinations of ABA content by GC-MS and RIA were similar after pea seed extracts had been purified by HPLC. Although the RIA could not be used to analyse ABA in crude extracts of pea seeds, it is likely that crude extracts of leaves of several other species may be assayed successfully.

Key words

Abscisic acid (assay) Cereals Legumes Monoclonal antibody Radioimmunoassay (abscisic acid) 



abscisic acid


dry weight


fresh weight


gas chromatography using an electron capture detector


combined gas chromatographymass spectrometry


high-performance liquid chromatography


monoclonal antibody


soluble polyvinylpyrrolidone




thin-layer chromatography


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. A. Quarrie
    • 1
  • P. N. Whitford
    • 2
  • N. E. J. Appleford
    • 2
  • T. L. Wang
    • 3
  • S. K. Cook
    • 3
  • I. E. Henson
    • 4
  • B. R. Loveys
    • 5
  1. 1.Cambridge LaboratoryAFRC-IPSRCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural SciencesUniversity of Bristol, Long Ashton Research StationBristolUK
  3. 3.AFRC-IPSRJohn Innes InstituteNorwichUK
  4. 4.CSIRO Division of Plant IndustryWembleyAustralia
  5. 5.CSIRO Division of Horticultural ResearchAdelaideAustralia

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