Serum Zinc Concentrations: Contamination from Laboratory Equipment

Janet O. Ralstin, Philip J. Schneider, Lenora Blackstone, Robert L. Ruberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The following experiment was designed because of high serum zinc reported in patients who were receiving total parenteral nutrition (TPN) concentrations. Blood samples were collected, divided into 3 containers: a clean glass control test tube, a vacuum collecting tube with a rubber stopper, and paraffin clot activator. It was found that compared to glass control tubes, vacuum collection with rubber stoppers contributed an average of 76 ± 14 μg/dl of zinc as contaminants. Moreover, tubes with a rubber stopper and clot activator contributed 198 ± 42 μg/dl of zinc as contaminants. It is concluded that care must be used to avoid trace element contaminants when plasma zinc concentrations are analyzed. Without proper methodology, including selection of the container in which the sample is taken, erroneous results will be reported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-181
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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