Repository logo

Delayed Processing of Chilled Whole Blood for 24 Hours Does Not Affect the Concentration of the Majority of Micronutrient Status Biomarkers.

Accepted version

Change log


Chamberlain, Karen 
Parkington, Damon A  ORCID logo
Collins, Dave 


BACKGROUND: The measurement of micronutrient status is essential to understand the health of individuals and populations, but there are limited data on the stability of micronutrients in whole blood. OBJECTIVES: The objective was to investigate the effects of delayed processing of whole blood on the stability of 25 micronutrient and selected clinical biomarkers. METHODS: Blood from 16 healthy adults was collected into EDTA, lithium heparin (LH), or serum tubes. Samples were processed within 2 hours of collection ("2-hour processed") or mailed overnight (boxed with frozen cold packs) before processing ("24-hour processed"). Micronutrient and clinical biomarker concentrations were quantified with validated methods. The concentration percentage difference between the 2- and 24-hour processed samples was calculated and was compared against quality specifications determined from intra- and interindividual variations. RESULTS: All analytes had a sample type where the percentage difference concentration between 2-hour and 24-hour processed samples was ≤4% and was acceptable based on calculated limits, including for biomarkers of vitamin A, vitamin D, thiamin, folate, vitamin B-12, iron (ferritin), and zinc status and for selected clinical markers, C-reactive protein, HDL and total cholesterol, and triglycerides. EDTA plasma vitamin C was lower compared to the 2-hour processed sample (geometric mean, 43%; 95% CI: 36%-49%). Pyridoxal-5-phosphate (vitamin B-6 biomarker) decreased, with differences from the 2-hour processed samples of -8% (95% CI: -13% to -2%) and -14% (95% CI: -18% to -9%) in LH plasma and serum, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: In blood collected from adult participants, delayed processing of chilled whole blood for 24 hours did not materially affect the measured concentrations of the majority of micronutrients and selected clinical biomarkers. This suggests that for these analytes, adherence to a 2-hour processing protocol may be unnecessary. This knowledge is valuable and may help to simplify logistics for sample transport and processing of blood samples for micronutrient status assessment.



NDNS, micronutrients, nutrition surveys, nutritional assessment, vitamin, Adult, Biomarkers, Folic Acid, Humans, Micronutrients, Nutritional Status, Vitamin B 12, Vitamins

Journal Title

J Nutr

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title


Elsevier BV


All rights reserved
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) (146281)
National Institute for Health and Care Research (IS-BRC-1215-20014)
At MRC EWL the study was funded by the UK Medical Research Council, programme U105960384. KSJ, SRM, DAP, PP, DC and AK are supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre (IS-BRC-1215- 20014), comprising the NIHR BRC Nutritional Biomarker Laboratory and NIHR BRC Dietary Assessment and Physical Activity Group. The NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre is a partnership between Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Cambridge, funded by the NIHR. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.