AAT Bioquest

What are the differences between viable and nonviable cells?

Posted September 17, 2022

Basis of differentiationViable cellsNonviable cells
DefinitionAre living cells that occur naturally in regular cell cultureAre nonliving cells that occur naturally in regular cell culture
Ability to growHave the ability to growCannot grow
Ability to divide and reproduceHave the ability to divide and reproduceCannot divide or reproduce
Cell membrane featureHave an intact cell membrane Have a permeable cell membrane
StainingMethylene blue is the stain used to detect viable cellsTrypan blue, Erythrosin B, and Nigrosin are stains used to detect nonviable cells
Effect of flow cytometry techniqueViable cells emit light when passed through a cytometerNonviable cells do not emit any light when passed through a cytometer
Effect of freezing on cellsCells frozen with cryoprotectants are viableSnap-frozen cells are nonviable
Additional resources

Discrimination of viable and non-viable cells using propidium iodide in two color immunofluorescence

Cell Viability Assays

Trypan UltraBlue™, sodium salt *0.1 M aqueous solution*