Ferrocyanide is the name of the anion Fe(CN)64−. In aqueous solutions, this coordination complex is relatively unreactive. It is usually available as the potassium salt potassium ferrocyanide, which has the formula K4Fe(CN)6.

Coordination chemistry

[Fe(CN)6] 4− is a diamagnetic species, featuring low-spin iron(II) center in an octahedral ligand environment. Although many salts of cyanide are highly toxic, ferro- and ferricyanides are less toxic because they tend not to release free cyanide.Holleman, A. F.; Wiberg, E. "Inorganic Chemistry" Academic Press: San Diego, 2001. ISBN 0-12-352651-5.] Its most important reaction is its oxidation to ferricyanide:: [Fe(CN)6] 4− overrightarrow{leftarrow} [Fe(CN)6] 3− + eThis conversion can be followed spectroscopically at 535 nm with an absorption coefficient of 21600 M−1 cm−1.

Treatment of ferrocyanide with ferric-containing compounds affords Prussian Blue, an intensely blue compound that is widely used as a pigment.

Use in biochemistry

Ferrocyanide and its oxidized product ferricyanide, [Fe(CN)6] 3−, are impermeable to the plasma membrane. For this reason ferrocyanide has been used as a probe of extracellular electron receptor in the study of redox reactions in cells. Ferricyanide is used thus any increase in ferrocyanide can be attributed to secretions of reductants or "Trans Plasma Membrane Electron Transport" (TPMET) activity.

Potassium ferricyanide is often used as a mediator in the test strips used with blood glucose meters by people suffering from diabetes. It is used in this application because it is easily reduced to potassium ferrocyanide.


According to the recommendations of IUPAC, ferrocyanide should be called "hexacyanoferrate(II)."


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  • Ferrocyanide — Fer ro*cy a*nide (? or ?; 104), n. [Ferro + cyanide.] (Chem.) One of a series of complex double cyanides of ferrous iron and some other base. [1913 Webster] {Potassium ferrocyanide} (Chem.), yellow prussiate of potash; a tough, yellow,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ferrocyanide — [fer΄ōsī′ə nīd΄, fer΄ō sī′ənid΄] n. a salt of ferrocyanic acid, H4Fe(CN) 6, containing the tetravalent negative radical Fe(CN) 6, in which the iron is divalent …   English World dictionary

  • ferrocyanide — noun Date: circa 1826 1. the tetravalent anion Fe(CN)64 2. a compound containing the ferrocyanide anion; especially the salt K4Fe(CN)6 used in making blue pigments (as Prussian blue) …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • ferrocyanide — /fer oh suy euh nuyd , nid/, n. Chem. a salt of ferrocyanic acid, as potassium ferrocyanide, K4Fe(CN)6. [1835 45; FERRO + CYANIDE] * * * …   Universalium

  • ferrocyanide — A compound containing the anion Fe(CN)64− . * * * fer·ro·cy·a·nide .fer ō sī ə .nīd n 1) the tetravalent anion Fe(CN)64 2) a compound containing the ferrocyanide anion esp the salt K4Fe(CN)6 used in making blue pigments (as Prussian blue) …   Medical dictionary

  • ferrocyanide — fer•ro•cy•a•nide [[t]ˌfɛr oʊˈsaɪ əˌnaɪd, nɪd[/t]] n. chem. a salt of ferrocyanic acid, as potassium ferrocyanide, K4Fe(CN)6 • Etymology: 1835–45 …   From formal English to slang

  • ferrocyanide — noun salt of ferrocyanic acid usually obtained by a reaction of a cyanide with iron sulphate • Hypernyms: ↑salt • Hyponyms: ↑potassium ferrocyanide, ↑yellow prussiate of potash …   Useful english dictionary

  • ferrocyanide — noun a) any of various salts containing the tetravalent anion Fe(CN); used in making blue pigments b) a complex ion in which a central ferrous iron atom is surrounded by six cyanide ions …   Wiktionary

  • Ferrocyanide — Ферроцианид …   Краткий толковый словарь по полиграфии

  • ferrocyanide — n. (Chem.) Ferroprussiate, ferrocyanate …   New dictionary of synonyms

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