[Histonet] Hematoxylin stability

Lee & Peggy Wenk lpwenk <@t> sbcglobal.net
Thu Aug 28 19:11:01 CDT 2008

If your Harris formulation involves mercuric oxide as the oxidizer, don't
use it. Since mercury salts can NOT be disposed down the sink, how are you
going to wash in running water after hematoxylin staining? And how would you
dispose of the acid rinse that pulls out the excess hematoxylin? And again,
how are you going to wash in running water after the acid rinse? 

There are Harris hematoxylin formulations using sodium iodate for the
oxidizer. Now you don't have to worry about mercuric salts. Or use Mayer
hematoxylin that also uses sodium iodate, no mercuric salts.

Also, look at the amount of hematoxylin used in Harris vs. Mayer. Usually
Harris uses about 5 g of hematoxylin vs. 1 g for Mayer. So if you only have
a small amount of hematoxylin, use the Mayer formula, and use the stain
progressively, not regressively.

The traditional Mayer hematoxylin uses citric acid for acidification, but
acetic acid is just as effective, and most labs have acetic acid readily
available. Just another hint.  We like the pH about 2.45.

Peggy A. Wenk, HTL(ASCP)SLS
Beaumont Hospital
Royal Oak, MI 48073

-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
[mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Hana Peter
Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2008 4:54 PM
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: [Histonet] Hematoxylin stability

I recently came into possession of a small amount of hematoxylin powder and
for the first time I'm going to make my own Harris hematoxylin and maybe
some Mayer's too.
As I have a limited amount of powder, I need to be extra careful with my
Does anyone have experience with "home" made hematoxylin and its stability?
I found on the internet that the stability is up to 6 months. Is this really
Thanks a lot!
Hana Peter

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