Phenylketonuria: a new method for the simultaneous determination of plasma phenylalanine and tyrosine

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  12 Aug 1977:
Vol. 197, Issue 4304, pp. 665-667
DOI: 10.1126/science.877580


This quantitative spectrophotometric method is based on the conversion of phenylalanine and tyrosine by phenylalanine ammonia-lyase to trans-cinnamic acid and trans-coumaric acid, respectively. Neither deproteinization nor prior incubation of the sample is required, and the entire procedure can be performed in 20 minutes. The method is sensitive to 1-micromolar concentrations of the two compounds, and only 20 microliters of plasma or serum is required to determine both phenylalanine and tyrosine simultaneously. These amino acids were determined between molar ratios (phenylalanine to tyrosine) of 0.1 to 40 in the serum or plasma of healthy individuals and plasma of phenylketonuric patients.