A small-scale, inexpensive method for detecting formaldehyde or methanol in biochemical reactions containing interfering substances

Wen Zhi Jiang, Jiri Adamec, Donald P. Weeks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


A simple, inexpensive microdistillation device is described for capturing methanol or formaldehyde as end products of biochemical reactions or in environmental samples. We demonstrate that the microdistillation protocol, coupled with the use of alcohol oxidase and the formaldehyde-sensitive reagent Purpald (4-amino-3-hydrazino-5-mercapto-1,2,4-triazole), serves as a quick and inexpensive alternative to chromatographic and mass spectrometer analyses for determining if formaldehyde or methanol is a product of reactions that contain substances that interfere with the Purpald reaction. These techniques were used to affirm formaldehyde as the end product of the dicamba monooxygenase-catalyzed O-demethylation of the herbicide dicamba (2-methoxy-3,6-dichlorobenzoic acid).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-148
Number of pages3
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013



  • Dicamba monooxygenase
  • Formaldehyde
  • Methanol
  • Microdistillation
  • Purpald

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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