May 07, 2021

Diagnostic uses of nitrocellulose membrane

By Joseph Vickers , Cytiva

Nitrocellulose membranes are the heart of lateral flow assays and require highly consistent wicking rate and thickness. Variations in either can have detrimental effects on assay sensitivity, reproducibility, and reagent consumption. Vivid™ Lateral Flow Nitrocellulose (LFNC) membranes are manufactured to ensure that these key parameters are tightly controlled with coefficients of variation (CV) between 5% and 10%. Nitrocellulose is the globally preferred membrane substrate in diagnostic tests where antigen antibody binding occur (e.g., pregnancy tests, urine-albumin tests, and C-reactive protein (CRP) detection). The Vivid LFNC membranes from Cytiva fulfill all the criteria to enable the development and manufacture of a diverse range of tests with reliability and reproducibility. They provide the following benefits:

  • Quality: designed and tested specifically for diagnostic applications to ensure the materials meet stringent requirements for diagnostic assay development and manufacturing
  • Reliable, large-scale manufacturing capacity with lot-to-lot traceability
  • Reproducibility: defined coefficients of variation for key performance parameters result in consistent performance
  • Choice of defined capillary speeds to select sensitivity of diagnostic testStraight and uniform migration

Membrane consistency for assay reproducibility and sensitivity

Enhanced sensitivity

Vivid Lateral Flow Nitrocellulose (LFNC) membranes provide high sensitivity with dilute concentrations of target analytes.

Strong consistency and high duplication rate

When measuring intra- and inter-lot performance for wicking time and thickness Vivid LFNC membranes provide consistent results, resulting in low defined coefficients of variation.

Consistent reproducibility

Provides protein binding levels which are highly consistent to facilitate reliable assay performance.

Clear results

Demonstrates low background levels which enable crisp capture lines and easy-to-read results.

Dependable performance

Constructed using pure nitrocellulose that does not contain interfering substances or post-treatments that affect assay performance.

Clear surface appearance

Controlled surface quality of the membrane ensures freedom from visual defects, discoloration, and dust.

Result timing

Quality assured wicking speed gives predictable result time.

Capillary Speed/Wicking

Assay sensitivity is maintained with consistency of the wicking rate of the nitrocellulose membrane. By maintaining a uniform sample front that travels along the membrane at a consistent speed, the target analyte is maintained in a homogenous concentration. This ensures that the target analyte present in the sample has adequate time to bind to the capture antibody resulting in reproducible results from lot-to-lot.

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Author bio

Joseph Vickers - Portfolio Lead, Membrane and Media










A Global Portfolio Leader at Cytiva, responsible for the Membranes and Media portfolio. He has previous experience in global marketing and operations, holding an MEng in Chemical Engineering from the University of Surrey.