Scatchard plot

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A Scatchard plot is a plot of the ratio of concentrations of bound ligand to unbound ligand versus the bound ligand concentration. It is a method for analyzing data for freely reversible ligand/receptor binding interactions. The plot yields a straight line of slope -K, where K is the affinity constant for ligand binding. The affinity constant is the inverse of the dissociation constant. The intercept on the X axis is Bmax.[1] It is sometimes the case that binding data does not form a straight line when plotted in a Scatchard plot. Such is the case when ligand bound to substrate is not allowed to achieve equilibrium before the binding is measured or binding is cooperative.[2]

In a Scatchard plot, assumptions of independence in linear regression model is violated because B (bound ligand) is used in the X and Y axes. Generally, Scatchard and Lineweaver-Burk plots are outdated. Their original intention was to transform the data into linear representations of the original data such that linear regression methods could be applied. These transformations frequently distort experimental error and can be misleading if results are not accurate.[3]

Scatchard plot

The Scatchard plot is named after the former MIT Chemistry Department member George Scatchard.[1]


  1. ^ a b Voet, Donald; (1995). Biochemistry, 3rd Ed. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN 0-471-39223-5. 
  2. ^ Gross, David. Physical Chemistry: Applications in the Life Sciences. 
  3. ^ [not in citation given] "GraphPad FAQ: Saturation Binding Curves and Scatchard Plots".