Crystal Violet Cell Viability Assay Protocol


This protocol offers a simple and effective assay for quantifying in vitro cell viability, cytotoxicity studies, and drug screening.

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The Crystal Violet Cell Viability Assay can be used as a quick and easy way to assess cell viability after experimental treatments. Crystal Violet (CV), a triarylmethane dye, binds to DNA in the cell nucleus and is therefore proportionate to cell biomass. Dead cells in the culture will detach and be removed from the plate during the washing steps, and only viable adherent cells will remain attached to the plate. The optical density (O.D.) of CV measured at 570 nm after solubilization of stained cells is used to indirectly quantify the relative density of viable cells in each well, and thus is used to determine cell viability. It can also be used as a simple and effective assay for cytotoxicity studies and for drug screening using adherent cell cultures. This assay produces results which are sensitive, accurate, and reproducible.


  • Simple and effective assay for in vitro:
    • Cell viability studies
    • Cytotoxicity studies
    • High-throughput drug screening
  • Detection using absorbance (O.D.) at 570 nm
  • Sample type – adherent cell culture (animal)
  • Quick and easy assay; less than 2 hours
  • Sensitive and reproducible
  • Protocol can be used with 96-, 48-, 24-, 12-, or 6-well plates
  • Equipment required: Plate reader (spectrophotometer capable of reading 570 nm) and orbital shaker
  • Reagents required: Crystal Violet powder, 100% Ethanol, Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate (SDS; 1.0%) and Phosphate Buffered Saline (PBS (1X))


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Catalog Number 9910CV
Downloadable Yes
Also Known As Cell viability assay, cytotoxicity assay, drug screening assay, and CV assay.
Product Use Not for Human or Animal Therapeutic or Diagnostic Use. Uses other than the described intended use may be a violation of federal law.
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