Determination of S-phenylmercapturic acid by GC-MS and ELISA: A comparison of the two methods

Giorgio Marrubini, S. Dugheri, M. Pacenti, T. Coccini, G. Arcangeli, V. Cupelli, L. Manzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


S-phenylmercapturic acid (PMA) is a specific urinary biomarker of benzene at exposure levels lower than 1 ppm. However, measuring PMA in urine is an expensive task by either GC or HPLC due to the necessity of extensive sample pretreatment. In the present study, a commercial chemiluminescence enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test for PMA and GC-MS were used for screening urine samples of 60 workers employed in petrochemical settings. The ELISA results were evaluated by comparison with the GC-MS. Overall, the ELISA test proved sensitive (limit of detection = 0.1 μgl-1), rapid, robust and reliable, affording results in good agreement with the GC-MS (54% of measurements) and no false-negatives. On the other hand, 46% of the ELISA assays were assigned as false-positives (arbitrarily established when ELISA >5 μgl-1, GC-MS -1) and a correlation coefficient of 0.687 was calculated between the two methods. It appears that urinary PMA routine biomonitoring on large numbers of samples is carried out in a cost-effective and rapid approach by preliminary screening with the ELISA assay followed by GC-MS confirmation of concentrations exceeding the biological exposure index for PMA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-251
Number of pages14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005


  • Benzen
  • Biomonitoring
  • Chemiluminescence
  • Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
  • Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)
  • S-phenylmercapturic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Toxicology


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