AW: [Histonet] 10% Neutral Buffered Formalin - Methanol?

Gudrun Lang gu.lang <@t>
Wed Nov 17 10:18:12 CST 2010

I guess the producer of the NBF has to state the Methanol-content, because
37% Formaldehyd (stocksolution) usually is made stable with an amount of
That does not influence the fixation performance.
There's a study by Fox about this. And he saw shrinkage of tissue only when
using the concentrated 37% Formaldehyd pure on tissue. This effect he
thought was caused by the Methanol content.


-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: histonet-bounces <@t>
[mailto:histonet-bounces <@t>] Im Auftrag von Jones,
Gesendet: Mittwoch, 17. November 2010 17:05
An: Histonet (E-mail)
Betreff: [Histonet] 10% Neutral Buffered Formalin - Methanol?

Greetings to all of you in Histoland.  Our lab recently switched from using
a formalin substitute to using 10% Neutral Buffered Formalin.  Our
Pathologists have been unhappy with the small tissues, like GI biopsies and
prostate cores.  They say they are seeing too much chatter and poor nuclear
detail.  We have adjusted our processing times with only mildly better

Today, I arrived at work to find staff cramming boxes and boxes of prefilled
formalin vials into flame cabinets, as JCAHO is here this week.  It occurred
to me that 10% NBF was not considered flammable when we used it years ago,
and I was surprised to find that the MSDS for the bottles we had ordered
listed methanol as an ingredient.  I immediately went back to my early days
in Histo, when we made up 10% NBF ourselves from 37% concentrate; and we did
not have any alcohol in our "recipe".  I thought I had discovered our whole
problem!  However, upon further research, we have found that most prefilled
bottles DO contain methanol.  The large 20 litre cube, however does not list
methanol as an ingredient.

So, my questions are many.  Does that inclusion of methanol contribute to
the drying out of tissues that we are seeing?  Does anyone sell prefilled
bottles that contain methanol-free formalin?  And, finally, does anyone have
any other thoughts or suggestions?  I should add that we use Toluene as our
clearing agent, because our former Pathologist believed it was less harsh on
the tissues; and we are running our tissues on the Thermo Excelsior.  We are
running small biopsies and large pieces of tissue together, which I know is
not optimal, but we are a small hospital and one processor is it!  I am not
a chemist and would appreciate any advice.  Thanks in advance.


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