Evaluation of assays for the identification and quantitation of muconic acid, a benzene metabolite in human urine

J Toxicol Environ Health. 1994 Jul;42(3):245-58. doi: 10.1080/15287399409531877.


Muconic acid (MA) is a urinary metabolite of benzene and has been used as a biomarker of exposure to benzene in humans exposed to levels as low as 1 ppm. We have modified a high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) based assay for urinary MA (Ducos et al., 1990) by the use of a diode array detector. This modification increases the specificity of the HPLC-based assay by identifying false positives. In addition, we have developed a gas chromatography (GC) based assay that uses a flame ionization detector (GC-FID). Both assays identified and quantified MA in human urine at concentrations greater than 40-50 ng/ml. Assay precision was within 10% relative standard deviation for MA concentrations above 90 ng/ml using the HPLC assay and above 40 ng/ml using the GC-FID assay. Quantitative accuracy of the assays was evaluated by determining MA in human urine samples using both methods and also a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) procedure. Numerical correlation among the three assays was good at MA concentrations above 100 ng/ml.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Benzene / metabolism
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Chromatography, Gas / instrumentation
  • Chromatography, Gas / methods*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Flame Ionization
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sorbic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Sorbic Acid / analysis
  • Urine / chemistry


  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • muconic acid
  • Benzene
  • Sorbic Acid