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Clinical chemistry

Preparation of fecal samples for assay of volatile fatty acids by gas-liquid chromatography and high-performance liquid chromatography.


PMID 2910583

Abstract

We describe a procedure for preparing fecal samples for determination of volatile fatty acids (VFAs) by gas-liquid chromatography (GLC) and "high-performance" liquid chromatography (HPLC). The simple, one-step procedure involves only ultrafiltration through a membrane with a molecular-mass cutoff of 3000 Da. As revealed by the GLC chromatograms, ultrafiltration appears to be as effective as steam distillation in sample clean-up. It also enables higher, more reproducible analytical recoveries of long-chain VFAs. The VFA content of the filtrate can also be measured by HPLC. Use of the ion-exclusion mechanism completely resolves isobutyric acid and butyric acid on a cation-exchange column. The mean (+/- SD) percentage distribution values of VFAs (measured by GLC) from five healthy subjects were 56.0 +/- 3.5 (acetic acid), 17.0 +/- 5.3 (propionic acid), 2.9 +/- 1.5 (isobutyric acid), 18.8 +/- 5.8 (butyric acid), 2.3 +/- 1.2 (isovaleric acid), and 2.9 +/- 0.8 (valeric acid).

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