Strains of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli
(ETEC) are responsible for significant rates of morbidity and mortality among children, particularly in developing countries. The majority of clinical and public health laboratories are capable of isolating and identifying Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter
, and Escherichia coli
O157:H7 from stool samples, but ETEC cannot be identified by routine methods. The method most often used to identify ETEC is polymerase chain reaction for heat-stable and heat-labile enterotoxin genes, and subsequent serotyping, but most clinical and public health laboratories do not have the capacity or resources to perform these tests. In this study, polyclonal rabbit and monoclonal mouse IgG2b antibodies against ETEC heat-labile toxin-I (LT) were characterized and the potential applicability of a capture assay was analyzed. IgG-enriched fractions from rabbit polyclonal and the IgG2b monoclonal antibodies recognized LT in a conformational shape and they were excellent tools for detection of LT-producing strains. These findings indicate that the capture immunoassay could be used as a diagnostic assay of ETEC LT-producing strains in routine diagnosis and in epidemiological studies of diarrhea in developing countries as enzyme linked immunosorbent assay techniques remain as effective and economical choice for the detection of specific pathogen antigens in cultures.