Assessment of a simple, non-toxic Alamar Blue cell survival assay to monitor tomato cell viability

Heather Anne Byth, Bongani I. Mchunu, Ian A. Dubery, Liza Bornman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


The Alamar Blue (AB) assay, which incorporates a redox indicator that changes colour or fluorescence in response to metabolic activity, is commonly used to assess quantitatively the viability and/or proliferation of mammalian cells and micro-organisms. In this study the AB assay was adapted for the determination of the viability of plant cells. Cell suspension cultures of tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum, L., with differing viabilities, served as the experimental model for a comparison of the AB assay with the conventional 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) viability assay. The AB assay showed a sigmoidal relationship between cell viability and AB reduction (as quantified by spectrofluorometry or spectrophotometry), which was similar to that obtained using the TTC assay. Both assays detected a significant reduction in cell viability after 48 h exposure to virulent Ralstonia solanacearum (biovar III), while the TTC assay, in addition, revealed cell proliferation in control cells from 24 to 72 h. The TTC assay detected cell proliferation over a wider range of cell densities, while the AB assay was more rapid and versatile whilst being non-toxic and thus allowing subsequent cell analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-346
Number of pages7
JournalPhytochemical Analysis
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Alamar Blue
  • Cell proliferation
  • Cell survival
  • Cell viability
  • Tomato
  • Triphenyltetrazolium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Food Science
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Plant Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine


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