In plant cell biology research, it is used for the staining of cell walls of both algae and higher plants. It is also useful in medicine and animal biology for the identification of fungi in the tissue, (it binds to the chitin in the cell walls of the fungi).
In research, calcofluor-white is also used to stain bud scars of yeast cells because the bud scars have a higher content of chitin, which stains them more than the rest of the cell membrane. Due to this stain it is possible to count the bud scars which is an indication for the age of the cell. It shows similar staining patterns as Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA). It is especially useful for the identification of Mucor and the causative agents of zygomycosis. Calcofluor-white can be used to stain thecal plates in armoured dinoflagellates. Calcofluor is also used as the dye in white-colored clothing, and results in the characteristic appearance under "black-lighting".
- Herth, W.; E. Schnepf (1980). "The fluorochrome, calcofluor white, binds oriented to structural polysaccharide fibrils". Protoplasma. Springer. 105 (1–2): 129–133. doi:10.1007/BF01279855. ISSN 0033-183X.
- Hoch, H.C.; C.D. Galvani; D.H. Szarowski; J.N. Turner (2005). "Two new fluorescent dyes applicable for visualization of fungal cell walls". Mycologia. 97 (3): 580–588. doi:10.3852/mycologia.97.3.580. ISSN 0027-5514.
- Burns, Edward R.; Wittner M.; Faskowitz F. (5 April 2005). "Method for detecting chitin-containing organisms - Patent 6875421". Retrieved 10 November 2010.
- Fritz, L. and Triemer, R. 1985. A rapid simple technique utilizing calcofluor white M2R for the visualization of dinoflagellate thecal plates. Journal of Phycology, 21: 662-664.
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