Nephelometry is a method for the determination of the cloudiness of a solution. A light beam passes through the sample and the light is scattered by the suspended particles. The measured forward scattered light indicates the amount of the insoluble particles present in solution. Common nephelometry applications include automated HTS drug solubility screening, long-term microbial growth kinetics, flocculation, and the monitoring of polymerization and precipitation, including immunoprecipitation.


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Nephelometry Principle

If a substance is completely dissolved in solution then there will be nearly no scattered light leading to a low nephelometric value. But if the solubility limit is reached and the substance starts to precipitate, the light will be scattered strongly leading to a high nephelometric value. This measurement technique is opposite to absorbance but is very well suited to monitor microbial growth. Other applications that greatly benefit from nephelometry include drug solubility screening, bacterial and fungal growth kinetics, determination of precipitation of particles in solution (e.g. immunoprecipitation, protein precipitation), quantification of macromolecules, toxin/antitoxin flocculation in serum and polymerization reactions just to mention a few.

Nephelometry detection with BMG LABTECH microplate readers

Nephelometry-based detection can be performed on the NEPHELOstar® Plus, the world’s only laser-based microplate nephelometer. The NEPHELOstar Plus uses a specific laser with adjustable intensity and diameter as light source and an Ulbricht sphere to collect the light scattered by an angle up to 80 degrees. Thanks to these features it is able to outperform simple turbidimetry measurements.

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