We describe an improved colorimetric method for assays of total and direct bilirubin in serum. Bilirubin reacts with diazotized sulfanilic acid in an acidic medium to form a blue azopigment. Total bilirubin is assayed in the presence of reaction accelerators (caffeine, urea, and citric acid), direct bilirubin in their absence. The azo compound so formed is read at the same wavelength (570 nm) in both assays. A sample blank is run in parallel. Standard curves are linear for total and direct bilirubin concentrations up to 513.0 and 256.5 mumol/L, respectively. The method is characterized by (a) use of the same protocol for both assays, i.e., a one-step procedure with short reaction time (5 min at room temperature), and (b) use of a single working solution, which, refrigerated, is stable for one month. The method is reliable, yields results that compare closely with those of the classical Jendrassik--Gróf method, is suitable for routine use, and lends itself to automation.
- © 1989 The American Association for Clinical Chemistry