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Anal Biochem. 1987 Feb 1;160(2):290-3.

Spectrophotometric assay for ornithine decarboxylase.


A rapid and sensitive spectrophotometric assay for ornithine decarboxylase is described. It is based on the observation that the product of ornithine decarboxylase, putrescine, reacts with 2,4,6-trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid to give a colored product soluble in 1-pentanol whereas ornithine does not. The amount of putrescine produced by the enzyme was determined by measuring the absorbance of the 1-pentanol extract of the reaction mixture at 420 nm, and by comparing the results to those obtained by the trapping of 14CO2 and by HPLC assays. The three assays were found to be equivalent in sensitivity, with the spectrophotometric assay having the advantages of being relatively rapid, requiring only common laboratory equipment, and not requiring the use of radioactive isotopes.

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