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[Lederle] A trademark for a yellow crystalline powder. Tetracycline is composed of an antibiotic obtained from several Streptomyces species such as Streptomyces viridifaciens. It is decomposed by strong sunlight and alkaline solutions. Tetracycline is primarily used as an antibiotic. It can also be used as a fluorochrome because it induces fluorescence in mitochondria of living cells. It has a mean excitation wavelength of 390 nm (ultraviolet) and a mean emission wavelength of 560 nm (Wolbers et al., 1990).


  • Decomposes in sunlight.
  • Potential for allergic reactions.
  • ThermoFisher: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in hydrochloric acid. Soluble in ethanol, water. Insoluble in chloroform, ether.

Composition C22H24N2O8
CAS 60-54-8
Melting Point 170-175 C (dec)

Resources and Citations

  • R. Wolbers, N. Sterman, C. Stavroudis, "Notes for Workshop on New Methods in the Cleaning of Paintings", Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, 1990.