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In the performance of the usual Gmelin test for bile in the urine the nitrous acid necessary for the oxidation of the biliverdin is obtained in various ways. It has been our custom—and this method has been used elsewhere—to instruct the student to heat concentrated nitric acid with a few pieces of the wood of matches, and to heat until the fumes of the nitrogen oxids arise faintly, in this way furnishing the mixture of nitric and nitrous acids. The acid is then poured into another clean, dry test tube and, after superimposing the urine on the slightly yellow nitric acid, the usual play of colors is looked for.
An error in interpretation, not of the presence of bile, but of the presence of albumin, in the urine is remotely possible after this manipulation. In practically every test made in this way a distinct white ring can be seen between
BUHLIG WH. A PRECAUTION TO BE OBSERVED IN MAKING THE USUAL GMELIN TEST FOR BILE IN THE URINE. JAMA. 1908;L(21):1689–1690. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.25310470027002d
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