Blyscan™ - sulfated Glycosaminoglycan (sGAG) assay kit

Our Blyscan™ Glycosaminoglycan Kit has been a ‘go-to’ Solution for reliable sGAG and Proteoglycan Analysis for many years! This versatile, widely cited kit utilises a dye-binding approach to quantitatively measure sulfated glycosaminoglycans (sGAG) and proteoglycans in cells, tissues and fluids from a wide range of in-vivo and in-vitro sources.
Colorimetric Detection (656nm)
The previous S1000 Sircol Soluble Collagen assay can be found here.
NB: For quantification of soluble/immature collagens we recommend our Sircol 2.0 soluble collagen kit. here.
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Understanding Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and Proteoglycans

Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are negatively-charged polysaccharides composed of repeated disaccharide units. These units typically consist of N-acetylated or N-sulfated hexosamine along with a uronic acid (GlcA or IdoA) or galactose. Sulfate groups may also be added, influencing cell interactions within tissues. Common examples of GAGs include Chondroitin Sulfate, Dermatan Sulfate, Heparin, Heparan Sulfate, and Keratan Sulfate. Notably,Hyaluronic Acid  is a non-sulfated GAG (which can be specifically detected and measured using our Purple-Jelley kit!).

When one or more GAG chains are covalently linked to a core protein, the resulting molecule is referred to as a proteoglycan (PG).

What do Glycosaminoglycans do?

Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and proteoglycans have a wide range of functions in tissues and organisms. They provide essential biophysical support, including acting as scaffolds and maintaining cartilage hydration. Additionally, they play a vital role in biochemical processes, including cell adhesion and cell signalling.

What is the origin of Blyscan assay name?

Blyscan is an Old English word meaning ‘to shine’ and from which the word ‘blush’, (blushing), may have been derived. This was an appropriate choice as the Blyscan Assay contains a blue dye which 'blushes' bright pink when it binds to sulphated glycosaminoglycans!

How does the Blyscan assay work?

Step 1. Blyscan dye reagent contains DMMB dye in an optimised buffer. Addition of Dye reagent to samples containing sGAG results in the formation of a dye/sGAG complex due to a charge interaction between dye and GAG sulfate groups.

Step 2. Over a 30 minute incubation Dye-labelled sGAGs precipitate out of solution and are collected by centrifugation. Following removal of unbound dye, the remaining bound dye is released from the complex by
addition of dye dissociation reagent. Released dye is quantified spectrophotometrically.

Step 3. The sGAG content of unknown samples may be quantified by comparison against a calibration curve prepared using a standard of purified Chondroitin-4-sulfate supplied with the kit.

A list of suggested sample types can be found under the 'Assay Specification' tab.

The Blyscan Dye reagent is formulated to miminise binding to other charged sample components such as nucleic acids, a problem with some older dye-based sGAG assays.

Assay range

2.5 - 50µg/ml

Limit of Detection


Detection Method

Colorimetric Detection (656nm)

Measurements per kit

110 in total (allows a maximum of 48 samples to be run in duplicate alongside a standard curve).

Suitable Samples

In-vivo: Solid samples, including cartilage, bone, connective tissue, tumour tissue

In-vivo: Liquid samples, including fluids such as urine, amniotic or synovial fluid.  

In-vitro: Solid samples, such as deposited ECM on 2D/3D culture enzymatic treatment

In-vivo: Liquid samples, Culture media during 2D/3D cell culture.

The assay requires that sulfated polysaccahrides or sGAGs are in a soluble form. A preliminary enzymatic extraction step is required for solid samples (enzyme not supplied with kit).

The assay is not suitable for use with samples containing alginates or that comprise degraded sulfated disaccharide fragments.


This kit is designed for research use only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.
Kit requires access to a centrifuge, as well as a spectrophotometer/colorimeter capable of absorbance detection at 656nm.
Specific sample preparation protocols may require customer to provide further reagents, consult assay manual for further information.

Blyscan sGAG kit contents:

1. Blyscan Dye Reagent (1x110ml)

2.sGAG Reference Standard (1x5ml, 100µg/ml Bovine tracheal chondroitin 4-sulfate)

3. Dissociation Reagent (1x110ml)

4. Sodium Nitrite (1x15ml)

5. Acetic Acid (1x15ml)

6. Ammonium Sulfamate (1x15ml)

7. 1.5ml micro-centrifuge tubes for dye-labelling reaction.

8. Assay kit manual

NB: Additional reagents may be required for sample preparation prior to assay. Consult manual or contact us for further details.

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