[Histonet] Saffron

Gagnon, Eric gagnone <@t> KGH.KARI.NET
Fri Jan 6 14:19:18 CST 2012

Beth, as Bob Richmond has noted regarding saffron,
"The most common use is as the hematoxylin-phloxin-saffron (HPS)
trichrome stain. It was in use as a general oversight stain in a few
pathology services when I was a resident in the 1960's..."
and is still in use here in Ontario by about 10% of the province's histology laboratories as a routine oversight stain. 
We have gone the same route as other respondents have noted over the years, utilizing a variety of suppliers, including a Mediterranean health food store in Ottawa for saffron.  Now we are using the Sun Brand saffron produced in Spain, that is available at the check-out counter at our local bulk foods store.  One might think that there would be a total shift to H&E as a routine stain, especially with automated stainers becoming prevalent, but we have successfully automated the stain on successive automated stainers.  Since our newest pathologists were trained as residents here, they are quite used to HPS, and there appears to be little impetus to change.
I still think the wafting of the boiling saffron is quite a pleasant aroma.
Eric Gagnon MLT
Histology Laboratory
Kingston General Hospital
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

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