Colorimetry and Thin-Layer Chromatography of Sialic Acids

  • Roland Schauer
  • Anthony P. Corfield
Part of the Cell Biology Monographs book series (CELLBIOL, volume 10)


Analysis and quantitation of the sialic acids are carried out on a vast range of molecules where they occur. Colorimetric analysis has been used since the discovery of the sialic acids as a routine method for detection and, in some cases, accurate quantitation of these monosaccharides. Several factors have contributed to the difficulties encountered using these methods. These include non-identical reactions of different sialic acids in the same assay, the non-specificity of the reactions for the sialic acids, and the need to allow for the contamination of samples with compounds interfering with the assay. In this Ught it is perhaps not surprising that errors have arisen due to one or more of these factors. Reviews of the colorimetric assays available for sialic acids have pointed out these problems (Tuppy and Gottschalk 1972, Ledeen and Yu 1976, Schauer 1978) and they will again be emphasized below. Greatest problems are encountered using cells or tissue extracts, as the level of contamination is inevitably higher and purification of the sialic acids as described in chapter C is necessary. In many enzyme assays the addition of a pure substrate enables accurate quantitation using colorimetry. However, cases may arise where purification is still required (e.g. the assay of tissue and cell homogenates). Colorimetry provides a routine and accurate assay for sialic acids if properly controlled.


Sialic Acid Molar Extinction Coefficient Acid Assay Periodate Oxidation Accurate Quantitation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roland Schauer
    • 1
  • Anthony P. Corfield
    • 1
  1. 1.Biochemisches InstitutChristian-Albrechts-UniversitätKielFederal Republic of Germany

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