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United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Reference Standard

Empirical Formula (Hill Notation):
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pharmaceutical primary standard



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Erythromycin is an antibiotic produced by growth of certain strains of Streptomyces erythreus. This product is composed largely of erythromycin A with small amounts of erythromycins B and C and is recommended for concentration at 100 mg/L. Concentrations between 50 and 200 mg/L have also proven effective in controlling bacterial growth. Erythromycin has been used as a motilin receptor agonist, to block respiratory glycoconjugate secretion in human airways in vitro, and for selecting plasmid-cured and recombinant lactococcus lactis MG1363 strains.

Biochem/physiol Actions

Mode of Action: Erythromycin acts by inhibiting elongation at the transpeptidation step, specifically aminoacyl translocation from the A-site to P-site by binding to the 50s subunit of the bacterial 70s rRNA complex.

Antimicrobial Spectrum: This product acts against both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria.


This product is stable in solution at 37°C for 3 days. Stock solutions should be stored at 2-8°C.

Preparation Note

This product is soluble in water at 2 mg/mL, with a 0.067% solution in water yielding a pH of 8.0-10.5. It is also soluble in ethanol at 50 mg/mL, yielding a clear, colorless to faint yellow solution. It is freely soluble in alcohol, acetone, chloroform, acetonitrile and ethyl acetate but forms salts with acids. All solutions should be protected from light.

Analysis Note

These products are for test and assay use only. They are not meant for administration to humans or animals and cannot be used to diagnose, treat, or cure diseases of any kind.  ​

Other Notes

USP issued SDS can be found here.

Legal Information

This product is provided as delivered and specified by the issuing Pharmacopoeia. All information provided in support of this product, including SDS and any product information leaflets have been developed and issued under the Authority of the issuing Pharmacopoeia.For further information and support please go to the website of the issuing Pharmacopoeia.

Storage Class Code

13 - Non Combustible Solids

WGK Germany


Flash Point F

Not applicable

Flash Point C

Not applicable

Certificate of Analysis

Certificate of Origin

Hanne Jensen et al.
Microbiology (Reading, England), 160(Pt 4), 671-681 (2014-01-30)
Lactobacillus reuteri, a symbiotic inhabitant of the gastrointestinal tract in humans and animals, is marketed as a probiotic. The ability to adhere to intestinal epithelial cells and mucus is an interesting property with regard to probiotic features such as colonization...
Eugene Ng et al.
The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, (3)(3), CD001815-CD001815 (2008-07-23)
Functional immaturity of gastrointestinal motility predisposes preterm infants to feeding intolerance. Erythromycin is a motilin agonist that exerts its prokinetic effect by stimulating propagative contractile activity in the interdigestive phase. To evaluate the efficacy of erythromycin in the prevention and...
Marina Mingoia et al.
Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy, 58(10), 5886-5893 (2014-07-30)
The linkage between the macrolide efflux gene mef(I) and the chloramphenicol inactivation gene catQ was first described in Streptococcus pneumoniae (strain Spn529), where the two genes are located in a module designated IQ element. Subsequently, two different defective IQ elements...
J A Washington et al.
Mayo Clinic proceedings, 60(4), 271-278 (1985-04-01)
Erythromycin, first introduced for clinical use 30 years ago, was found to be effective for the treatment of gram-positive bacterial infections. Emergence of resistance and the advent of penicillinase-resistant penicillins limited the use of erythromycin for serious staphylococcal infections; however...
Alice Gerlini et al.
PLoS pathogens, 10(3), e1004026-e1004026 (2014-03-22)
The pathogenesis of bacteraemia after challenge with one million pneumococci of three isogenic variants was investigated. Sequential analyses of blood samples indicated that most episodes of bacteraemia were monoclonal events providing compelling evidence for a single bacterial cell bottleneck at...

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