Fluorescein isothiocyanate

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A Fluorescent dye used to detect proteins. Fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) is used in biochemistry for the detection of pathogens. It has also been used to detect proteins in paint cross sections (Wolbers et al 1990). However, one study has shown that FITC can also fluoresce with Oil and acrylic media (Messinger 1992). FITC is sometimes incorrectly called Fluorescein.

Synonyms and Related Terms

FITC; 5-FITC; 2-(6-hydroxy-3-oxo-(3H)-xanthene-9-yl)-5-isothiocyanato benzoic acid

Chemical structure

Fluorescein isothiocyanate.jpg


  • Skin contact causes irritation.
  • Fisher Scientific: MSDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Soluble in water, dimethyl formamide, dimethyl sulfoxide.
  • Maximum absorption wavelength = 490 nm
  • Maximum emission wavelength = 520 nm
Composition C21H11NO5S
CAS 3326-32-7
Melting Point >360 C
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 389.38

Resources and Citations

  • J.Messinger, "Ultraviolet-Fluorescence Microscopy of Paint Cross Sections: Cycloheptaamylose-Dansyl Chloride Complex as a Protein-Selective Stain" JAIC 31:267-74, 1992.
  • Richard C. Wolbers, Nanette T. Sterman, Chris Stavroudis, Notes for Workshop on New Methods in the Cleaning of Paintings, J.Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, 1990 Comment: mean excitation wavelength = 490 nm -blue and mean emission wavelength = 525 nm
  • Aldrich Chemical Catalog Comment: p. 725 - max=499
  • Website: www.mdyn.com/application_notes/technotes - gives max abs =490 and max emission = 520
  • Website: pingu.salk.edu/fcm/fluo.html - gives excitation and emisson as 495, 519
  • Website: www.probes.com/handbook/sections - gives abs and emission as 494, 518