Measurement of Carnitine and O-Acylcarnitines

L. L. Bieber, L. M. Lewin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This chapter describes the measurement of carnitine and o-acylcarnitines. Carnitine is shown to be essential for β-oxidation of long-chain fatty acids in mammalian system. The assays for carnitine are based on the reaction catalyzed by carnitine acetyltransferase. The sensitivity of the enzymatic method was greatly increased by the introduction of a radioisotopic assay that depends on the incorporation of the acetyl moiety of [1-14C]acetyl-CoA into acetylcarnitine followed by separation and measurement of the amount of [14C]acetylcarnitine formed. The growth rate of a carnitine-requiring mutant of the yeast Torulopsis bovina can be dependent on the carnitine content of the growth medium when cultures are grown under strictly defined conditions. The quantitation of short-chain acylcarnitines by gas chromatography is explained. The method depends on separating water-soluble acylcarnitines from other acyl-containing compounds and then saponifying the acylcarnitines and quantitating the individual fatty acids by gas chromatography. The quantitative enzymatic assay of short-chain acylcarnitines after separation by paper chromatography is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-287
Number of pages12
JournalMethods in Enzymology
Issue numberC
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1981


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