Research Highlight

Morphine detector

doi:10.1038/nindia.2009.310 Published online 13 October 2009

Researchers have designed a detector using chicken egg yolk antibodies for rapid detection of morphine in urine samples1. The kit could be used for fast screening of drug abuse cases and also for follow-up treatment.

The researchers generated the antibodies using monoacetylmorphine-bovine serum albumin (MAM-BSA) and detected morphine in mouse urine samples. Prior to the experiment, the antibodies were adsorbed onto gold nanoparticles.

The morphine concentration in urine samples could be detected to as low as 2.5 nanogram per millilitre. The detectors – dipstick strips – could be stored at room temperature for more than 8 weeks without significant loss of sensitivity.

In a visual test with gold nanoparticles, the strips turn red. The intensity of color shows the concentration of the drug present in test samples.

"It is highly specific and detects target drug molecules in less than 2 minutes," says lead researcher Chander Raman Suri. The cost per assay is around Rs. 20 as opposed to techniques such ELISA that cost more than Rs. 500, he adds.

The authors of this work are from: Institute of Microbial Technology (CSIR), Chandigarh and Department of Biotechnology and Microbiology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.


  1. Gandhi, S. et al. Strip-based immunochromatographic assay using specific egg yolk antibodies for rapid detection of morphine in urine samples. Biosens. Bioelectron. 25, 502-505 (2009) | Article | PubMed |