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Biotechnol Appl Biochem. 1999 Apr;29 ( Pt 2):99-108.

Colorimetric protein assay techniques.

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  • 1NABI, 5800 Park of Commerce Boulevarde, NW, Boca Raton, FL 33487, USA.

Abstract

There has been an increase in the number of colorimetric assay techniques for the determination of protein concentration over the past 20 years. This has resulted in a perceived increase in sensitivity and accuracy with the advent of new techniques. The present review considers these advances with emphasis on the potential use of such technologies in the assay of biopharmaceuticals. The techniques reviewed include Coomassie Blue G-250 dye binding (the Bradford assay), the Lowry assay, the bicinchoninic acid assay and the biuret assay. It is shown that each assay has advantages and disadvantages relative to sensitivity, ease of performance, acceptance in the literature, accuracy and reproducibility/coefficient of variation/laboratory-to-laboratory variation. A comparison of the use of several assays with the same sample population is presented. It is suggested that the most critical issue in the use of a chromogenic protein assay for the characterization of a biopharmaceutical is the selection of a standard for the calibration of the assay; it is crucial that the standard be representative of the sample. If it is not possible to match the standard with the sample from the perspective of protein composition, then it is preferable to use an assay that is not sensitive to the composition of the protein such as a micro-Kjeldahl technique, quantitative amino acid analysis or the biuret assay. In a complex mixture it might be inappropriate to focus on a general method of protein determination and much more informative to use specific methods relating to the protein(s) of particular interest, using either specific assays or antibody-based methods. The key point is that whatever method is adopted as the 'gold standard' for a given protein, this method needs to be used routinely for calibration.

PMID:
10075906
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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