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Formaldehyde quantification using ampicillin is not selective

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Akane Kawamura



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Formaldehyde (HCHO) is a simple and highly reactive human metabolite but its biochemistry is poorly defined. A limiting factor in HCHO research is lack of validated quantification methods for HCHO relevant to biological samples. We describe spectroscopic studies on a reported fluorescence-based HCHO detection method involving its reaction with ampicillin. The results validate the structure and fluorescence properties of the HCHO-ampicillin reaction product. However, the same adduct is observed after reaction of ampicillin with glyoxylate. Related fluorophores were formed with other biologically relevant carbonyl compounds. Overall, our studies suggest the ampicillin method is not reliable for selective detection and quantification of HCHO in biological samples.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Reinbold R, John T, Spingardi P, Kawamura A, Thompson AL, Schofield CJ, Hopkinson RJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Scientific Reports

Year: 2019

Volume: 9

Online publication date: 04/12/2019

Acceptance date: 22/10/2019

Date deposited: 14/01/2020

ISSN (electronic): 2045-2322

Publisher: Springer Nature


DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-54610-3

PubMed id: 31797955


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