A new and simple colorimetric method has been developed for determining activity in vitro against Giardia intestinalis. The microtitre plate assay is based upon the nucleoside hydrolase activity released from G. intestinalis by lysis. Action of the nucleoside hydrolase on the substrate analogue, 4-nitrophenyl β-d-ribofuranoside (NPR), gives rise to a coloured product which may be determined directly by the change in absorbance. A number of other such nucleoside analogues can be similarly used, but NPR is the preferred substrate, since it gives high enzymic activity at a relatively low substrate concentration. The IC50 values determined using this method for the known anti-giardials metronidazole, tinidazole and furazolidone were consistent with previously published values. The method is simple, does not involve radioisotopes or complex instrumentation, and thus provides a convenient method for screening potential anti-giardial agents.
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