[Histonet] PFA preparation

Tony Henwood AnthonyH <@t> chw.edu.au
Sun Dec 7 16:11:50 CST 2008

My experience is that when you add paraformaldehyde to water all it
forms is a colloidal solution (ie on standing, the paraformaldehyde
settles with very little going into solution (personal experience,
waited one week, then gave up). 

Has your experience been different? 


Tony Henwood JP, MSc, BAppSc, GradDipSysAnalys, CT(ASC)
Laboratory Manager & Senior Scientist
Tel: 612 9845 3306
Fax: 612 9845 3318
the children's hospital at westmead 
Cnr Hawkesbury Road and Hainsworth Street, Westmead 
Locked Bag 4001, Westmead NSW 2145, AUSTRALIA 

-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
[mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of
ejschmid <@t> ucalgary.ca
Sent: Sunday, 7 December 2008 7:30 AM
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: [Histonet] PFA preparation


   So then what is the best way to prepare formaldehyde fixative from

   The way I have been taught, which differs from what I have read, is
to dissolve 4% into ddH2O at room temperature. After that one could add
PBS or buffer.

   I've also been taught that too much heat during preparation
"degrades" PFA, and that PFA (or formaldehyde solution, rather) stored
too long will lose freshness because it "degrades."

   What I read is different. Texts suggest to dissolve the PFA in warm
water, and that aging of the fix is due to repolymerization, not through

What should i do?

Eric Schmidt

University of Calgary
Medical Sciences

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