[Histonet] Xylene and Formalin substitutes

Rene J Buesa rjbuesa at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 22 08:02:47 CDT 2015

The most straight forward solution to your problem is the following:
1- change from ethanol dehydration to 2-propanol (isopropyl-alcohol)2- after 100% propanol, go directly a mixture 1:1 of propanol with mineral oil light molecular weight3- go to your regular paraffin embedding steps. These changes will eliminate xylene and is your best (and cheapest) option because there is NO xylene substitute available that will outperform what I have just recommended and they are ALL very expensive.
As regarding formalin, there is NO substitute that will provide a comparable fixation, NO one, no matter what you have "heard" about it.The best option is to reduce the amount of formalin and the exposure.Contrary to "common knowledge" that you need a proportion of 10:1 → 40:1 of formalin volume to specimen volume, that is an "urban legend" and totally wrong rooted in years of repeating the same thing endlessly.You only need a 2:1 and at the most 5:1 volume of formalin to specimen volume.If you want to have additional information on these two issues and read about it, please visit:Histosearch: The Histology Search Engine
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     On Wednesday, October 21, 2015 6:55 PM, Bharti Parihar via Histonet <histonet at lists.utsouthwestern.edu> wrote:

 Hello everyone. I'm interested in starting a conversation at my workplace
regarding substitutes for xylene,  and if there are any substitutes for
formalin. If anyone out there is using any can they please give me feedback
regarding the following questions,

1. Name of substitutes?
2. Pros and Cons?
3. Any quality issues when performing H&E, IHC or Special Stains?
4. Is it cost effective?
5. Does it require different dehydrants other than alcohol?
6. If formalin is still used as fixative,  what xylene substitute works
best with formalin?

I appreciate any feedback! Thanks!
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