[Histonet] Re: Reagent alcohol or denatured alcohol

Bob Richmond rsrichmond <@t> gmail.com
Wed Jan 9 16:56:01 CST 2013

Stella Mireles asks: >>Reagent Alcohol or Denatured Alcohol? What is
the difference between the two? Thinking about switching to denatured
because of cost costing. Which do you prefer?<<

Reagent alcohol is a commonly used term for ethanol (ethyl alcohol) to
which 5% methanol and 5% isopropanol have been added to keep people
from drinking it. This mixture is widely used in histology.

Denatured alcohol is ethanol that has been made undrinkable by adding
various substances that are prescribed by the authorities using
standard formulas. (Reagent alcohol is "S3DA modified".) Most of these
mixtures are unsuitable for histologic use. Ethanol denatured with
methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) is occasionally offered and can be used
histologically, but it smells so bad that most people won't use it.
Ethanol denatured with acetone is not suitable, because the acetone
dissolves the eosin from your sections.

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Maryville TN

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