Ninhydrin, solution 1 %

Molecular formula:
Chemical compound:
Common name:

C9H6O4 – ninhydrin – is a white or yellow crystalline solid. It is often used to detect ammonia or primary amines, as a reaction between one of these and ninhydrin produces a vibrant blue or purple color. Forensic investigators use ninhydrin to detect latent fingerprints due to its interactions with the amino acids and other protein compounds fingers leave behind. Analyses using this method can only be conducted on porous surfaces such as paper, cardboard, and plywood. Ninhydrin is also utilized in biochemical research to monitor some phases of peptide synthesis or to determine the amino acids contents of proteins.

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Hazard information

Hazard statements

  • Harmful if swallowed.
  • Causes skin irritation.
  • Causes serious eye irritation.
  • May cause respiratory irritation.

Precautionary statements

  • Avoid breathing dust/fume/ gas/mist/vapours/spray.
  • IF IN EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. Remove contact lenses if present and easy to do – continue rinsing.