[Histonet] IHC Zinc Fixative supplier/source

gayle callis gayle.callis <@t> bresnan.net
Thu Oct 15 11:03:01 CDT 2009

Concerning IHC zinc fixative supplier/source


FIRST,   Z-Fix from Anatech is NOT the formalin free Beckstead Zinc fixative
(BD Pharmingen) commonly used for rodent and human CD/leukocyte marker work.


Kathy wrote: 

I am searching for a vendor to supply IHC Zinc fixative. Not zinc formalin.
It's ALMOST like the BD Pharmingen IHC zinc fix, but contains Zinc acetate
too. We do not want to make it up in house though....it contains calcium
acetate, zinc acetate, zinc chloride and tris buffer. I have searched the
'net and all I garnered was a head ache, there are so many variations of
zinc fixatives, and none are what we need. Any help would be appreciated.
Thank you!





What you are looking for is the true, original formulation of the Beckstead
Zinc Tris buffer (non-formalin) fixative.  The BD Biosciences Zinc Fixative
(Formalin Free) Cat# 552658 technical data sheet cites his publication, but
the MSDS shows zinc acetate is not part of the reported toxic substances. If
they are citing Beckstead, they are more than likely using his original
formulation (see below) but to make sure this is absolutely correct, you
should contact their technical services about this.  They have zinc in the
recipe from zinc chloride and maybe they have modified the formulation so
that it works as well or better from the original without the zinc acetate.
Making it up in house was not difficult when we tried  the fixative.  

Zinc Fixative (JB Fixative or ZSF)  

0.1M Tris Buffer, pH 7.4
      Tris Base -------------------------------- 12.1 g (TRIZMA)
      1N HCL ----------------------------------- 81.5 ml
      Distilled water -------------------------- 900 ml

      Mix to dissolve. Adjust pH to 7.4
Zinc Fixative
      Calcium Acetate ---------------------- 0.5 g
      Zinc Acetate -------------------------- 5.0 g
      Zinc Chloride -------------------------- 5.0 g
      0.1M Tris Buffer made above ------ 1000 ml 
Mix to dissolve. The final pH will be approximately 6.5-7.0. Do not readjust
the pH, as this will cause the zinc to come out of solution. Store Zinc
Fixative at room temperature. Fix tissues for 24 to 48 hours. Fixation
longer than 48 hours may make the tissue brittle and difficult to cut.


As far as I know, there is no other company in the US that makes up this
fixative - a unique one of a kind fixative not commonly used by many labs
except maybe research facililites.  I think it is available from sources in
Europe, but can't be sure of exactly what they are selling from publications
I have read. Sorting that out was not fun.   Personally, I would trust the
BD Bioscience Zinc fixative (formalin free) simply because they do cite
Beckstead's publication.  I know that Ray Koelling, now at Phenopath,  has
used this fixative in the past, and he may have purchased it from BD.
Hopefully he is looking in and can address your problem.  He has been CC'd
with this message.


Good luck and hope your headache goes away - 

Gayle M. Callis



More information about the Histonet mailing list