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Anal Biochem. 1984 Aug 1;140(2):532-7.

Effects of molecular oxygen on detection of superoxide radical with nitroblue tetrazolium and on activity stains for catalase.


The usual method of staining polyacrylamide gel electropherograms for superoxide dismutase activity utilizes a photochemical flux of O2- to reduce nitroblue tetrazolium. Superoxide dismutases intercept O2-, preventing formazan production and thus causing achromatic bands. In the presence of H2O2, catalases also yield achromatic bands during this staining procedure. This is due to local elevation of pO2 by the catalatic decomposition of H2O2. O2, in turn, inhibits the reduction of the tetrazolium by O2-. This phenomenon provides a new activity stain for catalase. A previously described activity stain for catalase has also been reexamined and significantly improved.

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