NIST/NCI Micronutrients Measurement Quality Assurance Program: measurement repeatabilities and reproducibilities for fat-soluble vitamin-related compounds in human sera

Anal Chem. 1997 Apr 1;69(7):1406-13. doi: 10.1021/ac9607727.


The NIST/NCI Micronutrient Measurement Quality Assurance Program has conducted 33 interlaboratory comparison exercises for fat-soluble vitamin-related compounds in human sera over the past 12 years. Periodic reanalysis of lyophilized serum samples prepared from more than 70 different sera has enabled estimation of the short- and long-term measurement characteristics. Median- and interquartile-range-based statistics adequately estimate the distribution of results from laboratories that are in analytical control from total distributions that include a significant minority of outlier data. Short-term interlaboratory reproducibility standard deviations (SDs) are predictable functions of analyte concentration, with an asymptotic limit at low analyte concentration and a linear relationship at high concentrations. Long-term trends in the interlaboratory reproducibility can be estimated by standardizing the short-term SD at the observed analyte concentration to an expected SD at a given physiologically significant analyte concentration. The "average" laboratory's same-day analytical repeatability SD is about one-third of the estimated interlaboratory reproducibility; repeatability for longer periods between analyses is, on average, on better than the reproducibility. While a few exceptional laboratories have maintained excellent repeatability over the entire decade, long-term study measurements generated within a single laboratory are not generally more internally consistent than results from multiple laboratories. Enhanced and more consistently implemented intralaboratory quality control and quality assurance methods are required to further improve and maintain interlaboratory measurement comparability.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Laboratories / standards*
  • Lipids
  • Micronutrients / analysis*
  • Quality Control
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Solubility
  • Vitamins / blood*


  • Lipids
  • Micronutrients
  • Vitamins