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Fluorescein diacetate stains living cells green, and is a substrate for esterases. It is suitable for use in cell viability assays. Removal of the acetate groups by cellular esterases results in fluorescence in cells with intact membranes. It is used in studies on intracellular interactions and membrane permeability.
J. Heslop-Harrison & Y. Heslop-Harrison. Evaluation of Pollen Viability by Enzymatically Induced Fluorescence; Intracellular Hydrolysis of Fluorescein Diacetate. Stain Technology. 1970, 45 (3), 115-120.
Jack M. Widholm. The Use of Fluorescein Diacetate and Phenosafranine for Determining Viability of Cultured Plant Cells. Stain Technology. 1972, 47 (4), 189-194.