Subattomole amino acid analysis by capillary zone electrophoresis and laser-induced fluorescence

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Science  28 Oct 1988:
Vol. 242, Issue 4878, pp. 562-564
DOI: 10.1126/science.3140381


Subattomole analysis of fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) derivatives of amino acids is accomplished by combining capillary zone electrophoresis for high-efficiency separation with laser-induced fluorescence for high-sensitivity detection. Concentration detection limits range from 5 x 10(-12) molar for alanine to 9 x 10(-11) molar for lysine, injected in the column; 9 x 10(-21) mole of alanine is contained within the approximately 1-nanoliter injection volume at the detection limit. The alanine detection limit corresponds to fewer than 6000 molecules injected onto the column and represents an improvement of four orders of magnitude in the state of the art for fluorescent detection of amino acids and an improvement of six orders of magnitude in the state of the art for the detection limit for isothiocyanate derivatives of amino acids.