Introduction to Protein Detection in Plants


There are instances in which information regarding the presence and/or amount of a particular protein made by a plant, animal or human is needed. Fortunately there are laboratory methods available for making these measurements. Some of these methods are more extensive, while others are quicker and easier to carry out. This lesson will focus on molecular principles involved in the detection of biotechnology derived proteins in crops, using the lateral flow ELISA.


This lesson builds upon gene expression principles discussed in the online lesson Gene Expression Part 1: Reading Genes to Make Proteins and the animation, Protein Synthesis.

At the completion of this Protein Detection in Plants lesson, learners will be able to:

  • List examples of when protein detection is required.
  • Describe information needed to make an accurate sample to detect protein.
  • Identify the role of antibodies in immunoassays.
  • Explain the principles and steps of a lateral flow strip test.
  • Outline the strengths and weaknesses of immunoassays.
JNRLSE Approved, 2005

Special thanks to David Grothaus and Gary Thull (Pioneer) and James Stave (SDI) for their assistance and use of graphics/animations. The author also wishes to acknowledge the following companies and organizations for their contributions to this lesson: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, AEIC, EnviroLogix, GeneScan, Medallion Labs, Monsanto, SDI, USFDA, and Pioneer. This lesson has been assigned Journal Series NO. 1018, Univ of Nebraska Cooperative Extension.