Synthesis of Novel Haptens and Development of an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay for Quantification of Histamine in Foods

Novel haptens were designed and synthesized to prepare antibodies against free histamine, but none resulted in producing suitable antibodies for developing an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). However, an antiserum was obtained having high specificity and affinity to p-nitrobenzoylated histamine (NPHA), which can be easily formed from reaction between histamine and p-nitrobenzoic acid N-hydroxysuccinimide ester (PNBA-OSu) under mild conditions. Based on rabbit polyclonal antibodies, a competitive indirect ELISA (ciELISA) for histamine determination in foods was developed. After ciELISA and derivatization optimization, the assay showed good sensitivity, with limits of detection of 1.8 mg/kg, 93.6 μg/L, and 93.6 μg/kg in fish, red wine, and yoghurt, respectively, with negligible cross-reactivity with related biogenic amines and amino acids. Average recovery of histamine in fortified food samples ranged from 80.9% to 110.1% with coefficients of variation below 16.3%. Good correlation between the ciELISA and liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry was obtained for spiked food samples.