Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary Struvite urolithiasis forms as a consequence of a urinary tract infection by urease-producing species of bacteria such as Proteus mirabilis. Ammonia, produced by the enzymatic hydrolysis of urea, elevates urine pH causing a supersaturation and precipitation of Mg++ as struvite (NH4MgPO4). Calcium often precipitates as well, forming the mineral carbonate-apatite (Ca10(PO4)6CO3). We have developed a procedure based on direct observation by light microscopy whereby struvite crystal growth can be quickly monitored in response to chemical changes in urine. As struvite crystals assume a characteristic shape or crystal habit based on their growth rate, the effect of urine chemistry and the action of various crystallization or urease inhibitors on struvite formation can be quickly shown. In addition preliminary effects of alkaline pH, or the presence of toxic compounds on bacteria can also be shown through their loss of motility.
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