Preferred Sample Type

Reducing Substances.

Suitable Specimen Types

  • Plain Spot Urine
  • Faeces
Minimum of 1g of faeces.

Specimen Transport

Routine, but must be received within a day of being taken

Sample Processing in Laboratory

Routine on a weekly basis.

Turnaround Time

7 days

Sample Stability

Sample must be received into the laboratory within a day of it being taken, and then stored at -20C until analysis.

Reducing Substances.

General Information

Reducing substances are not normally present in urine and faeces. This test will detect the presence of reducing sugars, eg glucose, lactose, maltose, fructose and galactose. The test is normally carried out on children who fail to thrive and who could be lactose intolerant.


All samples with positive results will need to be followed up with a fresh sample which will be sent to Birmingham Children's Hospital for sugar chromatography, to identify which sugars are present.

NB: Urine reducing substances should not be used to test for classical galactosaemia since it is subject to false negative results.  To exclude galactosaemia, perform a galactosaemia screen in red cells (lithium heparin) or blood spots.

 If other tests are required (e.g microbiology), then a separate sample is required.


  • EQA Scheme?: No
  • EQA Status: Sample swap scheme with BCH (monthly)

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HTA licence number is 12366

Protection of Personal Information – Laboratory Medicine comply with the Trust Data Protection Policy and have procedures in place to allow the Directorate and it’s employees to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 and associated best practice and guidance.

The Trust Laboratories at Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital were awarded UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accreditation to the internationally recognised ISO 15189 standard in May 2015. For a list of accredited tests and other information please visit the test database
Tests not appearing on this scope are either under consideration or in the process of accreditation and so currently remain outside of our scope of accreditation. However, these tests have been validated to the same high standard as accredited tests and are performed by the same trained and competent staff.

For further information contact Louise Fallon, Quality Manager, 0121 424 1235

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