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.
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Mechanism of Action
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).
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