Ficoll™ is a sucrose polymer commonly used to adjust the density and viscosity of solutions in the lab. It is employed in density gradients and loading buffers.
One of the most common applications for Ficoll is as a density gradient for the isolation of eukaryotic cells, organelles, bacterial cells, and pancreatic islets.
Ficoll is an uncharged, highly branched polymer formed by the co-polymerisation of sucrose and epichlorohydrin. Due to its many hydroxyl groups, Ficoll is highly soluble in water. Densities of up to 1.2 g/ml can be attained.
Stability & storage
Since Ficoll does not contain any ionized groups, the molecule does not readily react under physiological conditions. It is stable in alkaline and neutral solutions, but is rapidly hydrolysed in solution at pH 3, especially at high temperature. However, Ficoll can be autoclaving at 110ºC for 30 minutes in neutral solutions. Strong oxidizing and reducing agents should be avoided. Shipping and storage are at ambient temperatures.