t,t-Muconic Acid

Optimal Result: 0 - 0.15 ug/mg creatinine.

t,t-Muconic Acid (Trans, trans-muconic acid) is a Benzene Metabolite. 

Sources of Exposure:

Natural component of crude and refined petroleum. Automotive emissions, poor emission-control devices on older vehicles, poor maintenance practices, automotive-refueling operations and industrial emissions. Discharge of industrial wastewater from chemical plants, chemical manufacturing sites, and petrochemical and petroleum industries.

Seepage from underground petroleum storage tanks, waste streams. By-product of various combustion processes - wood burning, organic wastes, tobacco smoke. First and second-hand smoke accounts for the largest source of benzene expsorue of the general public. The amount of benzene in a single cigarette may vary from 5.9-90 micrograms.

Used in the manufacture of Styrofoam, resins, synthetic fibers and rubbers, gums, lubricants, dyes, glues, paints and marking pens. Used as a solvent in scientific labs, industrial paints, adhesives, paint removers/ strippers, degreasing agents, carburetor cleaner, rubber cements, some arts and crafts supplies, manufacture of faux leather and rubber goods.

Off-gassing from building material, particle board, carpet glue, textured carpet, liquid detergent, furniture wax, structural fires, high-density traffic locales, petrol stations.

Occupational Exposure: industries that produce or use benzene or benzene-containing products - oil refineries, petroleum plants, tire manufacturers, paint and shoe manufacturing plant, petrol stations, active or passive cigarette-smoke inhalation, and areas of heavy vehicular traffic.

Interfering Factors: Sorbic acid and potassium sorbate, common food preservatives, are metabolized to muconic acid, which may therefore cause elevations of this marker.

Sources include: processed cheese slices and spreads, salad dressings, mayonnaise, flavored drinks, canned foods, and baked goods. To eliminate this confounding variable, sorbic acid, is assayed and reported on the patient’s Environmental Pollutants Profile if detected.


Lowers blood parameters (hematocrit, haemoglobin level, erythrocyte, leukocyte, platelet counts). Bone marrow depression with aplastic anemia, leukaemia, thrombocytopaenia.

Human carcinogen, Genotoxic. Skin and eye irritation. Central Nervous System depression, death.


Following inhalation, most benzene is excreted through exhalation unchanged. Benzene is metabolized by cytochrome P-450-dependent multifunction oxidase enzymes and excreted as conjugated derivatives (sulfates and glucuronides).

Benzene and its metabolites accumulate in lipid depots.

What does it mean if your t,t-Muconic Acid result is too high?

Elevated levels of t,t-Muconic Acid can signify potential exposure to certain environmental toxins, particularly benzene and some related compounds. t,t-Muconic Acid is an organic acid that is produced as an intermediate in the breakdown of benzene, which is a volatile organic compound found in cigarette smoke, industrial emissions, and various chemical products. Benzene is considered a carcinogen and can be harmful when individuals are exposed to it at elevated levels.

When t,t-Muconic Acid levels are higher than normal in a urine organic acid test, it may indicate that an individual has been exposed to benzene or benzene-containing substances. Chronic or prolonged exposure to benzene can lead to various health issues, including an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer, particularly leukemia.

It's essential to note that while elevated t,t-Muconic Acid levels can suggest potential exposure to benzene, further clinical assessment and investigation are necessary to confirm exposure and assess its health implications. If elevated t,t-Muconic Acid levels are detected, individuals should consult with a healthcare professional for a comprehensive evaluation, which may include further tests and recommendations for reducing exposure to environmental toxins if necessary.

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