Nycodenz: application and properties

by DrChika

What is Nycodenz

Nycodenz is a non-ionic, triiodinated radiopaque substance used primarily in molecular biology and biochemistry for density gradient centrifugation. Its chemical formula is C_19H_26I_3N_3O_9. Nycodenz creates gradients that are used to separate cells, viruses, organelles, and other biological particles based on their density.

Nycodenz is a brand name for a non-ionic, iso-osmotic density gradient medium commonly used in various laboratory applications, particularly in the field of molecular biology and biochemistry. It belongs to the family of iodinated density gradient media. Density gradient media are substances that form stable gradients of density when layered in a centrifuge tube, allowing for the separation of particles based on their buoyant density.

Nycodenz is characterized by its unique properties, including high stability, biocompatibility, and a lack of ionic charge. These features make it suitable for applications such as cell separation, organelle isolation, virus purification, and protein purification. One of its key advantages is its ability to provide high-resolution separation, allowing researchers to isolate particles with similar densities accurately.

Due to its non-toxic nature and compatibility with biological macromolecules, Nycodenz has become a valuable tool in various scientific studies, contributing to advancements in cell biology, virology, and other related fields. It is often employed in techniques like density gradient centrifugation to separate and purify different components within biological samples.

Key features of Nycodenz include:

Low Osmolality: Compared to ionic gradient media, Nycodenz has lower osmolality, reducing the risk of osmotic shock to cells and other biological materials during separation processes.

Non-Ionic Nature: This feature minimizes the interactions with biological molecules, thereby preserving the functionality and integrity of the materials being separated.

High Solubility: Nycodenz is highly soluble in water and compatible with various buffers, facilitating the preparation of gradient solutions for different applications.

Application in Cell Fractionation: It is particularly useful in the isolation and purification of cells, subcellular organelles, and macromolecules like nucleic acids and proteins.

Virus Purification: Nycodenz is gentle on viruses, allowing for effective purification without compromising their infective properties.

Biocompatibility: Due to its reduced cytotoxicity compared to other gradient media, Nycodenz is preferred for applications where cell viability is crucial.

Overall, Nycodenz is an important tool in research laboratories for the preparation of density gradients used in the separation and purification of various biological entities, offering a balance of effectiveness and gentleness on the samples being processed.

Properties of Nycodenz:

Density Gradient Formation:

Nycodenz’s unique property of forming stable density gradients enables researchers to separate particles based on their density differences.

The non-ionic nature of Nycodenz prevents interference with biological molecules, ensuring accurate and reliable results.


Nycodenz is widely recognized for its biocompatibility, making it suitable for a broad spectrum of biological applications.

The medium does not adversely affect the structure or function of biological macromolecules, making it ideal for cell separation and organelle isolation.

Applications of Nycodenz:

Cell Separation:

Nycodenz facilitates efficient separation of different cell types based on their density, a critical step in cell biology research.

Its use in density gradient centrifugation allows for the isolation of specific cell populations with minimal damage.

Organelle Isolation:

Researchers leverage Nycodenz to isolate organelles such as mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum, enabling in-depth studies of cellular structures and functions.

Virus Purification:

Nycodenz has proven instrumental in the purification of viruses, including retroviruses and adenoviruses, a crucial step in virology research.

Protein Purification:

The medium is employed in protein purification techniques, offering a gentle and effective method for obtaining high-purity protein samples.

Advantages of Nycodenz:

High Resolution:

Nycodenz provides high-resolution separation, allowing for the isolation of particles with similar densities.

Mild and Non-Toxic:

The non-toxic nature of Nycodenz ensures minimal impact on the integrity of biological samples, making it a preferred choice in sensitive applications.

Consistency and Reproducibility:

Nycodenz’s consistent performance and reproducibility contribute to the reliability of experimental results, essential in scientific research.


In conclusion, Nycodenz stands as a remarkable tool in the realm of scientific research, offering unparalleled versatility and reliability. Its applications in cell biology, virology, and molecular biology underscore its significance in advancing our understanding of complex biological systems. As research methodologies evolve, Nycodenz continues to play a pivotal role, enabling scientists to unravel the intricacies of life at the molecular level.

Removal of nycodenz from samples

Nycodenz can be removed from samples by dialysis, ultrafiltration or gel filtration. Cells, subcellular organelles and other particulate matter can be isolated from Nycodenz by centrifugation without the risk of contaminating the pellet with Nycodenz.


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