formalin -Reply-old fixative techniques

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From:Sarah Christo <schristo@CVM.TAMU.EDU> (by way of histonet)
To:histonet <>
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Dear Louise,
   I'm not that old (yet) but I remember when I
took over for a histotech that retired after 20+
years in 1984 that she had 10% formalin
in a jar with some strange white stones at the
bottom.  You guessed it-marble chips.
Here at Texas A&M where traditions are the
name of the game, they still fix big huge chunks
of tissue and then trim off a piece a few days
later.  I suppose that has been done since 1940.
And formalin is made by hand in a 55 gallon drum.
-Sarah, Texas A&M

Louise wrote:
Hello histonetters,

I am currently engaged on a seriously retrospective project involving
performing PCR on  paraffin embedded archival tissues some of which
are more than 30 years old. The variablity of the DNA viability and
content is astounding. A factor that I can only ascribe to the
various fixatives used way back then.

Could some of the older histotechnologists give me some insight into
what was common practice in say, the late 50's early 60's?
(I will understand if some of you just say that you are reporting
hearsay - after all - we don't all want to reveal our age?)

When did buffered formalin come into vogue? As a mere whippersnapper
of some 17 years experience - I can recall the unpleasantness of
trying to make up buffered formalin in 25l quantities - an innovation
and a great pain to a raw recruit.!

I will appreciate any insight into what really happened

many thanks
Louise Taylor
South Sfrica

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