Chloramphenicol (D-threo-2-dichloroacetamido-1-p-nitrophenylpropane-1,3-diol) added to blood samples did not alter the observed shift in the red cell osmotic fragility curves as the samples were aged in vitro for 24 hours at 37 degrees C. Nor was the normal rate of loss of 2,3-diphosphoglycerate, ATP, or glutathione from the red cells affected by the presence of chloramphenicol over the same period. Consequently, this bacteriostatic agent can be added to blood samples taken under non-sterile conditions, such as from the heel of an infant, in order to preserve them from the effects of microbial contamination. In this way red cell osmotic fragility results can be obtained on non-sterile samples after their incubation at 37 degrees C for 24 hours. A miniaturisation of the standard osmotic fragility procedure is described, which allows results to be produced from the small, non-sterile samples obtained by heel-prick of infants.
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