Acridine Orange

Acridine Orange Chemical formula

Chemical information

Naranja de acridina. 3,6-Bis(dimethylamino)acridine.
Chemical formula: C17H19N3 = 265.4.
CAS — 494-38-2.


Acridine orange is a dye with antiseptic properties. It has been used as a diagnostic stain in microbiology. For details of the antiseptic properties of acridine derivatives.

Diagnostic use.

Acridine orange has been used for the diagnostic staining of malarial parasites.1 For the quantitative buffy coat method, acridine orange is used to stain the parasites in a blood sample that is then centrifuged, and the area just below the buffy coat is examined under a fluorescence microscope. It has been described as easier and quicker to use than the standard examination of stained blood films. However, this method is not specific for diagnosis of malarial type, gives only a rough indication of infection intensity, and can give false-positive results. Acridine orange has also been tried for the staining of blood slides.2-5
1. Warhurst DC, Williams JE. ACP Broadsheet no 148, July 1996, Laboratory diagnosis of malaria. J Clin Pathol 1996; 49: 533–8
2. Gay F, et al. Direct acridine orange fluorescence examination of blood slides compared to current techniques for malaria diagnosis. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 1996; 90: 516–18
3. Craig MH, Sharp BL. Comparative evaluation of four techniques for the diagnosis of Plasmodium falciparum infections. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 1997; 91: 279–82
4. Tarimo DS, et al. Appraisal of the acridine orange method for rapid malaria diagnosis at three Tanzanian district hospitals. East Afr Med J 1998; 75: 504–7
5. Lema OE, et al. Comparison of five methods of malaria detection in the outpatient setting. Am J Trop Med Hyg 1999; 60: 177–82.
Published October 23, 2018.