Send to

Choose Destination
Biotech Histochem. 2010 Feb;85(1):55-63. doi: 10.3109/10520290903048400.

Hematoxylin shortages: their causes and duration, and other dyes that can replace hemalum in routine hematoxylin and eosin staining.

Author information

Dapson & Dapson LLC, 6951 East AB Avenue, Richland, MI 49083, USA.


The origins of repeated hematoxylin shortages are outlined. Lack of integration in the hematoxylin trade exacerbates the problems inherent in using a natural product. Separate corporations are engaged in tree growth and harvesting, dye extraction, processing of extracts to yield hematoxylin, and formulation and sale of hematoxylin staining solutions to the end users in biomedical laboratories. Hematoxylin has many uses in biological staining and no single dye can replace it for all applications. Probably, the most satisfactory substitutes for aluminum-hematoxylin (hemalum) are the ferric complexes of celestine blue (CI 51050; mordant blue 14) and eriochrome cyanine R (CI 43820; mordant blue 3, also known as chromoxane cyanine R and solochrome cyanine R). The iron-celestine blue complex is a cationic dye that binds to nucleic acids and other polyanions, such as those of cartilage matrix and mast cell granules. Complexes of iron with eriochrome cyanine R are anionic and give selective nuclear staining similar to that obtained with acidic hemalum solutions. Iron complexes of gallein (CI 45445; mordant violet 25), a hydroxyxanthene dye, can replace iron-hematoxylin in formulations for staining nuclei, myelin, and protozoa.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center