A technique for the determination of protein concentration by neutron activation analysis of silver binding

W. D. Frasch, J. Larsen, N. Bowlby, I. Apel, J. D. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A method for the quantitative determination of small amounts of protein samples was developed employing neutron activation analysis. Current methods of protein concentration determination are severely limited as a result of differences in the specific characteristics of each protein. Silver binding has been used as a sensitive colorimetric method to indicate the presence of protein. However, silver-protein complexes can have a variety of absorbance spectra unique to each protein, which complicate the analysis. Various amounts of specific proteins were equilibrated in an excess of silver nitrate prior to the reduction of the silver by the addition of NaBH4, HCHO, and NaOH. The protein-silver complex was rapidly separated from the unbound silver by centrifugation chromatography and the amount of bound silver was determined by INAA. The amount of silver was proportional to the amount of protein present in each sample. When the silver was not reduced prior to removal of the unbound silver by chromatography, only negligible amounts of silver remained bound to the protein. The stoichiometry of bound silver to protein on a molar basis showed relatively small differences for the proteins that were examined. This ratio was found to depend on the conditions of the binding and reduction of the silver. The results suggest that the binding of silver is not specific to any charged or polar groups on these proteins and may, therefore, provide a means of determination of the concentration of protein that has general application for all proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-94
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry Articles
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Pollution
  • Spectroscopy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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