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Biotech Histochem. 2007 Aug;82(4-5):227-34.

Comparison of historic Grübler dyes with modern counterparts using thin layer chromatography.

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  • 1University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL 36617, USA.


The aniline dye industry was created in 1856 when William Perkin prepared the dye, mauve, from coal tar. Following that discovery, several dye manufacturing businesses were formed in Western Europe, most successfully in Germany. It was to these companies that early investigators turned to obtain these new dyes for the developing field of biology. In 1880, Dr. Georg Grübler started a company in Germany to supply the needs of biologists. Grübler dyes developed a reputation for excellence. In the study reported here, 29 samples of 12 Grübler dyes were compared to modern counterparts using thin layer chromatography. The dyes studied were basic fuchsine, acid fuchsine, safranine, pyronine, aniline blue, ponceau, gentian violet, methylene blue, orange G, malachite green, and Sudan III and IV. I found that these early Grübler dyes closely resembled modern day counterparts; however, the use of synonyms was confusing and some of the fat stains were mislabeled by modern criteria. The chromatograms of some dyes exhibited smearing, probably representing multiple closely related dye species. The study of old dyes provides interesting comparisons with modern counterparts as the center of dye manufacturing is moving from Europe and the United States to Asia.

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