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Clin Chem. 1987 Jun;33(6):769-74.

Delta bilirubin: absorption spectra, molar absorptivity, and reactivity in the diazo reaction.

Erratum in

  • Clin Chem 1988 Jan;34(1):207.


Delta bilirubin (B delta), isolated from serum, has an absorption maximum near 440 nm and a molar absorptivity of 72,000 L mol-1cm-1 in either Tris HCl (0.1 mol/L, pH 8.5) or phosphate (0.13 mol/L, pH 7.4) buffer. This absorptivity exceeds by approximately 50% and 59%, respectively, that of unconjugated bilirubin in the same buffers. This finding suggests that substantial errors can be incurred in direct spectrophotometry of bilirubins in serum. In the total diazo (TBIL) assay (Clin Chem 1985;31:1779-89), the color yield from B delta increases by 10% as the final diazo concentration is increased from 0.27 to 0.81 mmol/L. In the direct (DBIL) assay, if done in HCl (50 mmol/L), B delta yields approximately 15% more color as the diazo concentration is increased from 0.51 to 1.53 mmol/L, whereas in acetate buffer (0.4 mol/L, pH 4.7) the corresponding color yield is 25% greater. However, the absolute color yield for the reaction in HCl exceeds that in acetate buffer. In both the TBIL and the DBIL assay, B delta reacts slowly, nearly complete reaction requiring 10 min. Thus, B delta may be seriously underestimated in diazo (especially DBIL) methods in which short reaction times (20 s to 1 min) are used.

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