[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
June 9, 1956


Author Affiliations

St. Louis

From the Division of Gerontology, Washington University School of Medicine.

JAMA. 1956;161(6):528-529. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.62970060009009d

The nitrite reaction of Griess1 has been used fairly extensively for testing of the purity of water supplies. The test is based on the demonstration of nitrite produced in contaminated water through the reduction by bacteria of nitrate naturally present in the water. In the field of microbiology, the nitrite reaction is an accepted procedure for the study of nitrite-forming bacteria grown on culture mediums to which nitrate has been added. The reaction consists of the development of a red color in the presence of nitrite by addition of an acidic sulfanilic acid-α-naphthylamine reagent. The reaction is highly sensitive and results in the formation of azo-α-aminonaphthalene-parabenzene-sulfonic acid.2 The formula of the color compound is given below.

The nitrite reaction was discovered in 1879 by Griess, a German chemist, who employed a reagent consisting of sulfanilic acid and α-naphthylamine in dilute sulfuric acid. In his first publication Griess reported

First Page Preview View Large
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview