Metabolic acidosis can result from accumulation of organic acids in the blood due to anaerobic metabolism or intestinal bacterial fermentation of undigested substrate under certain conditions. These conditions include short-bowel syndrome, grain overfeeding of ruminants and, as recently reported, severe gastroenteritis. Measuring fermentation products such as short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and lactic acid in various biological samples is integral to the diagnosis of bacterial overgrowth. Stereospecific measurement of D- and L-lactic acid is necessary for confirmation of the origin and nature of metabolic acidosis. In this paper, methods for the separation of SCFAs and lactic acid are reviewed. Analysis of the organic acids involved in carbohydrate metabolism has been achieved by enzymatic methods, gas chromatography, high-performance liquid chromatography and capillary electrophoresis. Sample preparation techniques developed for these analytes are also discussed. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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