Amino Acid Laboratory

Amino Acid Laboratory

Amino Acid Laboratory

The Amino Acid Laboratory is in the Department of Molecular Biosciences of the School of Veterinary Medicine and is part of Dr. Andrea Fascetti’s research laboratory.  It offers analyses for research and diagnostic purposes.  It is a nonprofit lab; the fee structure is approved by the University.


Complete amino acids in physiological fluid samples:  add 6% Sulfosalicylic Acid (SSA) (1:1) to sample for deproteinization, centrifuge the mixture at 14000 rm for 25 minutes, filter the supernatant through 0.45 mm syringe drive PTFE filter, adjust pH to 2.2, load 50 ml on Biochrom 30 amino acid analyzer.

Complete amino acids in solid samples: hydrolyze 5 mg sample using 5 ml of 6 Nmol HCl in sealed ampoule (110 oC, 24 hrs.), dry the sample with nitrogen gas, dissolve it again in loading buffer, filter the hydrolyte and load 50 ml on Biochrom 30 amino acid analyzer w/o dilution.

Free amino acids in tissues or feed: add 3% SSA solution to homogenized sample (10:1 V:W), let stand overnight at room temperature, centrifuge and filter the supernatant (0.45mm), adjust pH to 2.2 and load 50 ml on Biochrom 30 amino acid analyzer.

Taurine in plasma, urine, tissue and feed: sample preparation procedure is the same as complete amino acid analysis.  Analyses are done with a Beckman 6300 amino acid analyzer.

Whole blood taurine: samples are frozen and thawed twice to break the cells and release all taurine before further processing.

Mineral Analysis:
Analysis of Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, Ca, Mg, and K uses Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer with either flame (ppm level) or graphite furnace (ppb level).  Solid samples are digested with nitric acid.

   As and Se analyses use FIAS (Flow Injection Analysis System) with Graphite Furnace

   Hg analysis use Atomic Absorbtion with Flow Injection Analysis System

   P & N use color metric method

D2O analysis:

FTIR Analysis

Turn Around Time and Results

Blood, Plasma, Urine, and other liquid samples:
Complete Amino Acid  analysis results will be available within 14 working days.  Sample numbers larger than 60 may require additional time.

Taurine analysis results will be available within 10 working days.

Food, body tissue, and other solid samples:
Samples needing hydrolysis or digestion will require 3 additional days.

Sample preparation

Plasma preparation (for complete amino acid analysis including taurine): Draw 2 ml or more of blood using a green top vacutainer with heparin (not outdated). Invert green top tube 5 times to mix the heparin. If the blood is drawn in a heparinized syringe, draw 1ml air befow inverting the syringe 5 times to mix blood and heprain, then remove needle before expressing blood into a centrifuge tube. Immediately centrifuge the blood. Immediately take off the plasma using a Pasteur pipette or eye dropper. Take care not to disturb the buffy coat (white blood cells contain a lot of taurine). Put the heparinized plasma into another clean tube. Heparinized plasma should not be hemolyzed and may be straw colored.

Whole blood preparation (for taurine only): Take 1 ml or more of blood using current (not outdated) sodium or lithium heparin as an anticoagulant. Use a current green top tube or a heparinized syringe containing 2 to 3 drops of heparin. Draw blood then draw 1 cc air for mixing space. Invert syringe or vacutainer 5 times to mix the heparin. Syringe drawn heparinized whole blood should be transferred to a clean tube. Please ship in a secondary container.


Handling of Samples for Shipment:

Samples of plasma, whole blood or urine can be shipped unfrozen if shipped on the same day as taken. Keep sample in refrigerator until shipped. If the sample is stored overnight or longer, the sample should be frozen. Put plasma, whole blood and urine samples in plastic tubes OR place the glass tubes in a secondary plastic container.

Ship samples in frozen cold packs. Send Express Overnight Mail Monday through Thursday only. If shipped by U.S. Mail, send Monday through Wednesday only. Please note that the laboratory does not receive deliveries on the weekend. Ship to the following address:

Amino Acid Laboratory
University of California, Davis
1089 Veterinary Medicine Drive
1020 Vet Med 3B
Davis, CA 95616

Click Submission Form to down load it.  Please complete the submission form as thoroughly as possible and then put it in a zip plastic bag and include it in the package.  Please do not prepay by check. You will be invoiced.

Services and Current Rates


Note to UC Customers ONLY: non-federal funds must be billed.

University of California researchers please contact the laboratory for rate information.

Taurine Analysis


Single sample (Plasma, Whole Blood, Urine or Food)


Analysis of plasma & whole blood, submitted together for single patient



Complete Amino Acid Analysis


1 to 50 samples


51 or more samples



Miscellaneous *


Grinding fee




Mineral/element in solution


Mineral/element in solid


*These services are available for research purposes only.



Normal Taurine Values (nmols/ml) for Cat & Dog

Plasma (nmol/ml)

Whole Blood (nmol/ml)


Normal Range

No known risk for
 taurine deficiency

Normal Range

No known risk for
 taurine deficiency












Reference for Cats
Reference for Dogs
Reference for Horses
Sample Submission Form (pdf)

Reference Papers

S. Delaney Article (pdf)
Torres Article (pdf)
Spitze Article (pdf)
Heinze Article (pdf)