Testing for Protein

Protein Error of Indicators

Testing for protein is based on the phenomenon called the "Protein Error of Indicators" (ability of protein to alter the color of some acid-base indicators without altering the pH). In a solution void of protein, tetrabromphenol blue, buffered at a pH of 3, is yellow. However, in the presence of protein (albumin), the color changes to green, then blue, depending upon the concentration. This method is more sensitive to albumin than to globulin, detecting as little as 5 mg albumin/dL urine. Bence Jones protein and mucoprotein are examples of globulin components that are sometimes present in urine, but are not distinguishable by the dipstick method for protein.

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