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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Hemoglobinopathies: Hemoglobin S Disorders. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Solubility Test

Most hemoglobins are soluble in a high-molarity phosphate buffer; Hb S is not. The buffer is made up of dibasic and monobasic potassium phophates, saponin, and dithionate. A 1:100 dilution of blood into buffer is made, incubated for 5 minutes, and turbidity is observed against a white background with black lines.

A positive result (A below) is indicated by a turbid solution.
A negative result (B below) is obtained when lines are visible through the solution.
The solubility test should only be used as a screening test as it is not reliable for diagnosing sickle cell disease.