[Histonet] Silly Question?

Linda M Watson Linda.Watson <@t> bms.com
Thu Dec 11 11:10:35 CST 2008

Hi Pat,
Paraformaldehyde does not contain any additives and is considered more 
"pure" than formaldehyde which often contains methanol which in some 
cases is undesirable depending on the type of  assay being conducted.


Pat Flannery wrote:

> Please humor me on this if it's obvious (to everyone but me):  why do  
> we use paraformaldehyde (which is so inconvenient to make up) rather  
> than buffered formalin or just diluted formaldehyde itself?
> It seems that around here, some folks prefer paraformaldehyde (either  
> 2% or 4%) and others use formalin, while some others stick to diluted  
> formaldehyde (I see all 4 on labels for specimens submitted for  
> histology).  Is it mostly a matter of personal preference or where 
> you  were trained (i.e. force of habit) or is there a valid reason to 
> use  each solution (basically the same chemical once in solution, 
> merely  buffered or not)?  The only answer I've gotten when I've asked 
> is,  "That's what we always use."
> Thanks.
> -Pat Flannery (not a "real" histologist - I just play one in the lab)
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