Re: Wavy sections

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From:Mick Rentsch <> (by way of histonet)
To:histonet <>
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Dear Marilyn,
the appearance and disappearance of this phenomena on any sort of regular
basis, strongly suggests a relationship with processing or fixation with
exhaustion of properties of reagents, or only when a certain person has or
has'nt worked that or the previous day, this may also apply to your stain
Temperatures of up to 64C in your processing wax usually have little adverse
affect on tissues except perhaps for some increase in brittleness.
Even though the waviness may appear to be due to microtomy, poor processing
will produce a similar effect because there is little supporting wax matrix.
If the waviness is due to lifting of areas on the slide this can also be due
to poor processing.
I have experienced something similar with poor quality batches of Limonene
in our processor which we overcame at the time by "cutting" the Limonene
with Shell X3B solvent at a ratio of 2:1 resp. Since then we have reverted
back to using Xylene.
Currently on the local scene, some labs are experiencing moderate to severe
problems with 10% NBF prepared from Formaldehyde 40% which is in fact not
40% to start with, or are using pre-formulated solutions which are not 10%;
the poorly fixed areas certainly look muddy. We avoid this by insisting on a
C.of A. on our materials, carrying out our own Formaldehyde assay on NBF and
raw material and also selecting random samples from both for independent
assay by a NATA reg. Lab which is also ISO series reg.
A final possibility is that your wax is faulty viz. has an unacceptable
water content, this was a problem with a certain brand of wax in Australia
some 18 years ago, and there were similar comments from Histopersons in the
USA and Canada this year on the Histonet.
I do apologise for waffling on and I can understand that the issue is going
to be extremely frustrating until you find the cause. Let us know the final
Regards Mike (Downunder)
-----Original Message-----
From: Marilyn Woods <>
To: Histonet <>
Date: Tuesday, 15 December 1998 9:57
Subject: Wavy sections

>Looking for suggestions on the cause of wavy sections, so bad that we are
>unable to focus under high power.  This has happen out of the blue without
>changing any procedures.  I am cutting all skin, some look good,  but this
>problem seems to affect the staining ex. muddy appearing, poor contrast and
>understaining.  All temps. are with norm. except of a paraffin bath on
>processor is 64 C. Sections have been good 2 days a week then progressively
>get worse.
>Thank you

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