Most serological assays detect antibody responses in biological samples through affinity of serum antibodies for antigens provided in the assay. Certain antigens, however, may be difficult to produce and/or may contain unwanted epitopes. In these cases, a practical alternative may be the use of peptides as representatives for specific epitopes. Peptides can be obtained after purification in large quantities for a modest price, but screening of a large set of peptides during development may be relatively expensive. To cut costs of screening peptides for a new serological assay, the concept was investigated of using cheap non-purified (crude) peptides instead of purified peptides.Peptides were selected that represent three well-described linear epitopes of viral proteins: VP2 of canine parvovirus (CPV), gp41 of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and E2 of classical swine fever virus (CSFV). Crude and purified biotinylated peptides with either a short or long spacer between the biotin and the epitope were used to test their capability to bind antibodies in a bead-based suspension array.The results show that, in a bead-based suspension array, crude peptides can function as antigen for specific monoclonal antibodies, and that the acquired signals are less than with purified peptides. CSFV-derived crude peptides were also able to detect specific antibodies in swine serum, indicating the applicability of crude peptides for pre-screening large numbers of different peptides during the development of serological peptide-based assays.