Nitrocefin packaged and labeled in glass bottle.

N00510 mg
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  • Description

    Nitrocefin is a cephalosporin with chromogenic properties and is routinely used to detect beta-lactamase enzymes produced by beta-lactam resistant bacteria. Nitrocefin is soluble in DMSO and is commonly used at a 1.0 mg/mL concentration.

    This product is considered a dangerous good. Quantities above 1 g may be subject to additional shipping fees. Please contact us for specific questions.


    Essentially all beta-lactamase enzymes hydrolyze the amide bond between the carbonyl carbon and the nitrogen in the beta-lactam ring of nitrocefin. Macroscopic detection of this process is made possible because a ultraviolet absorption shift from intact versus hydrolyzed nitrocefin occurs within the visible light spectrum (~380 nm to ~500 nm, or yellow to red).

    • Microbiology Applications

      Nitrocefin is used to detect beta-lactamase activity from suspected beta-lactam resistant bacteria (see protocol below).



    Purity Level

    (HPLC): ≥95.0%

    Tariff Code


    Related Documents

    For in vitro research use only. Not suitable for human or animal consumption. For MSDSs not available online, please email a request to

  • CAS Number41906-86-9
    Molecular FormulaC21H16N4O8S2
    Molecular Weight516.5
    AppearanceOrange powder/lyophilized film (depends on quantity).
    Purity Level(HPLC): ≥95.0%
    SolubilityDMSO: Freely Soluble
    Methanol: Slightly Soluble
    Water: 55.1 μg/mL
    AbsorbanceWater: (0.5 mg/mL) 570nm ≤ 0.2 (0.5 mg/mL) 386nm ≥ 4.5 in Water
    Melting Point103-113 °C (dec); 167-169 °C (dec) (Lee)
    Optical Rotation[a]D20 -224° (c = 1.0 in dioxane)
    Storage ConditionsProtect from light. Store with inert gas. -20°C
  • Nitrocefin.jpg

    Example of nitrocefin color change before and after exposure to beta-lactamase.

    (A) Concentrated nitrocefin (10.0 mg/mL) in DMSO before dilution with PBS buffer. (B) Nitrocefin diluted with PBS buffer to working concentration (1.0 mg/mL). The yellow color is indicative of intact, undegraded nitrocefin. (C) 25 units of beta-lactamase dropped on top of nitrocefin (1.0 mg/mL in PBS). The red color is the result of beta-lactamase mediated cleavage of the nitrocefin. (D) Vortexed mixutre of contents shown in picture (C).

  • Protocols


    O'Callaghan, Cynthia H. et. al. "Novel Method for Detection of B-Lactamases by Using a Chromogenic Cephalosporin Substrate." Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 1.4 (1972): 283-88. Web. 10 Oct. 2012.

    Parr, T. R., Jr. "Simple Screening Method for Beta-lactamase-positive and -negative Ampicillin-resistant Haemophilus Influenzae Isolates." Journal of Clinical Microbiology 20.1 (1984): 131-32. Web. 10 Oct. 2012.