Citric acid interferes with adenosine triphosphate determination by bioluminescence

D. N. Mubiru, M. S. Coyne, J. H. Grove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) measurement by bioluminescence is used in microbial adsorption studies for which colony-forming units (CFU) may underestimate true microbial numbers. We observed that citric acid profoundly affected ATP measurement by luciferin-luciferase assay, and we assessed the effect of citric acid on ATP detection in water and buffer systems in the pH range 4.9 to 7.4. Bioluminescence depended on the buffer system, increasing as pH increased in each buffer system and decreasing as the buffer system changed from Na-phosphate to citrate-phosphate. Citrate-phosphate buffer decreased bioluminescence by 82% relative to water at the same pH. Consequences of poor buffer selection are potentially reduced luciferase activity in the bioassay system and underestimation of microbial numbers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2587-2594
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Letters
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Biological buffers
  • Microbial ecology
  • Microbial enumeration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Electrochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Citric acid interferes with adenosine triphosphate determination by bioluminescence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this