[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Magnetic particles (MNPs) offer attractive possibilities in biotechnology. MNPs can get close to a target biological entity, as their controllable sizes range from a few nanometres up to tens of nanometres, and their surface can be modified to add affinity and specificity towards desired molecules. Additionally, they can be manipulated by an external magnetic field gradient. In this work, the study of ferric oxide (Fe3O4) MNPs with different coating agents was conducted, particularly in terms of strategies for antibody attachment at the surfaces (covalent and physical adsorption) and the effects of blocking buffer composition and incubation times on the specific and non-specific interactions observed. The considered biological model system consisted of a coating antibody (goat IgG), bovine serum albumin (BSA) as blocking agent, and a complementary antibody labelled with FITC (anti-goat IgG). The detection of antibody binding was followed by fluorescence microscopy and the intensity of the signals quantified. The ratio between the mean grey values of negative and positive controls, as well as the maximum intensity attainable in positive controls, were considered in the evaluation of the assays efficiency. The covalent immobilization of the coating antibody was more successful as opposed to protein adsorption. For covalent immobilization, silica-coated MNPs, a 5% (w/v) concentration of BSA in the blocking buffer and incubation times of 1 h produced the best results in terms of assay sensitivity. However, when conducting the assay for incubation periods of 10 min, the fluorescence signal was reduced by 44% but the assay specificity was maintained.