Identification of biotin sulfone, bisnorbiotin methyl ketone, and tetranorbiotin-l-sulfoxide in human urine

Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Feb;65(2):508-11. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/65.2.508.


In previous studies using the HPLC and avidin-binding assay, five unidentified avidin-binding substances were observed in human urine. The present study investigated the identity of these substances. Urine was collected before and after intravenous administration of 18.5 mumol biotin to healthy adults. Unknown substances 1 and 3 were initially identified as biotin sulfone and bisnorbiotin methyl ketone, respectively, by coelution with authentic standards on HPLC. Identities were confirmed by thin-layer chromatography and by derivatization with p-dimethyl-aminocinnamaldehyde. As expected for biotin metabolites, the urinary excretion of biotin sulfone and bisnorbiotin methyl ketone increased with biotin administration. The urinary excretion of biotin sulfone increased 21-fold from 0.2 nmol/h before to 4.2 nmol/h after administration; the excretion of bisnorbiotin methyl ketone increased 130-fold from 0.4 to 51.8 nmol/h. At presumed steady state in free-living subjects (n = 6), biotin sulfone and bisnorbiotin methyl ketone accounted for 3.6% and 7.9% of total biotin excretion, respectively. Traces of tetranorbiotin-l-sulfoxide were also identified by using thin-layer chromatography and derivatization with p-dimethylaminocinnamaldehyde. However, tetranorbiotin-l-sulfoxide was not detectable in urine by the HPLC and avidin-binding assay because this metabolite has weak avidin-binding affinity. We conclude that biotin sulfone and bisnorbiotin methyl ketone are present in measurable quantities in human urine; their quantitation should allow more accurate studies on human biotin metabolism and turnover.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biotin / administration & dosage
  • Biotin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Biotin / metabolism*
  • Biotin / urine
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Chromatography, Thin Layer / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Sulfones / urine*
  • Sulfoxides / urine*


  • Sulfones
  • Sulfoxides
  • bisnorbiotin methyl ketone
  • tetranorbiotin sulfoxide
  • biotin sulfone
  • Biotin