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M. J. Sauer, J. A. Foulkes, A. Worsfold, and B. A. Morris

Summary. A simple direct-addition microtitre plate enzymeimmunoassay (EIA) for progesterone in whole milk is described. The assay used antiserum raised against 11α-hydroxyprogesterone 11-hemisuccinate (progesterone 11-hemisuccinate) and a heterologous label prepared by conjugation of 11α-hydroxyprogesterone 11-glucuronide (progesterone 11-glucuronide) with alkaline phosphatase using an active ester procedure. The sensitivity, analytical recovery, linearity of response and precision of the assay compared favourably with radioimmunoassay (RIA). Results from EIA of milk samples were compared with determinations made after isolation of progesterone by HPLC (r = 0·910). Milk samples (200) were assayed by RIA at both the Milk Marketing Board and the Cattle Breeding Centre and the results were correlated with EIA performed at the Cattle Breeding Centre (r = 0·890 and r = 0·833 respectively). Calving data were obtained from a further 110 cows for which the milk progesterone EIA had provided a pregnancy test 24 days after AI; 46 cows were correctly identified as non-pregnant and 58 as pregnant and there were 4 false positive and 2 inconclusive results.