Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is the primary component of the outer membrane of Gram‐negativebacteria. LPS aids in protecting bacterial cells, and also defines the unique serogroups used to classify bacteria. Additionally, LPS is an endotoxin and the primary stimulator of innate immune cells in mammals, making it an ideal candidate for early detection of pathogens. However, the majority of methods for detection of LPS focus on detection of the endotoxic component of the molecule, lipid A. Since lipid A is largely conserved among bacterial species and serogroups, these detection approaches are highly nonspecific. Thus, the importance of identifying the O‐polysaccharide antigenic portion of LPS, which confers serogroup specificity, has received a great deal of attention in recent years. However, methods that are highly selective to the O‐antigens are typically less sensitive than those that target the endotoxin. Here we present a history and comparison of the sensitivity of these methods and their value for detecting bacteria in a variety of different sample types.
Part of the book: Escherichia coli