RE: Alcian Blue for ... [urban myths]

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From:jim <>
To:"'J. A. Kiernan'" <>, Histonet <>
Content-Type:text/plain; charset=us-ascii

Here is the note from our wholesaler/ manufacturer:

"Thank you for your E Mail concerning Alcian Blue 8GX. As per previous
correspondence the problem is with us and will not disappear.
The last 3 years we found some old ICI material (low dye content 10-20%), which 
we upgraded. That has come to an end; no company in the world to our knowledge 
is producing the material, textile quality or stains quality. I checked with 
the Stains Commission again today, no change. Mr. John Kiernan may be a guru on 
stains, however, he is not aware of commercial realities. I stand by all the 
comments we have made in the past, nothing has changed."

I am only the messenger and have zero interest in manufacturing a shortage. I 
should add that a 1996 CD ROM will not reveal anything that has happened during 
the past three years.
Jim Darley
ProSciTech                 Microscopy PLUS
PO Box 111, Thuringowa  QLD  4817  Australia
Ph +61 7 4774 0370  Fax:+61 7 4789 2313
Great microscopy catalogue, 500 Links, MSDS, User Notes
ABN: 99 724 136 560            

On Wednesday, July 05, 2000 1:39 AM, J. A. Kiernan 
[] wrote:
> On Sat, 1 Jul 2000, jim wrote:
> > I think that the concentration of Alcian Blue will soon be academic. ...
> > ...     ProSciTech has no more Alcian Blue available. "
>   This was aired on Histonet several months ago, and major
>   suppliers indicated that there was no impending shortage of
>   the dye. The Colour Index (CD-ROM, 1996) indicates that
>   it is still manufactured by 2 or 3 companies as a textile
>   dye, under various trade names. Any supplier of biological
>   stains can buy the textile dye, test it as a stain, and
>   sell it as alcian blue.
>   The Biological Stain Commission regularly tests batches
>   of alcian blue submitted by vendors and certifies them
>   if they are OK for staining. Basic copper phthalocyanine
>   dyes labelled alcian blue have always been pretty variable,
>   so it's best to buy from a certified batch.
>   There's nothing new in perceived shortages of biological
>   stains. In the early 1970s haematoxylin was supposedly in
>   short supply (= prices up) for such mythical reasons as a
>   disease of Carribean logwood trees and a sunk ship that
>   carried the world's harvest of Haematoxylon heartwood.
>   In the early 1990s there was a similar non-shortage of
>   light green SF (supposedly because of a banned toxic
>   compound used in its manufacture). The Biological Stain
>   Commission soon sorted that one out (Penney & Powers 1995
>   Biotechn Histochem 70:217). There was never a real
>   shortage of the dye, but some bogus compounds (not certified
>   by the BSC) had been sold, and they didn't work.
>   (Bear in mind also that fast green FCF is better than
>   light green in every way, and has identical staining
>   properties.)
>  John A. Kiernan,
>  Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology,
>  The University of Western Ontario,
>  LONDON,  Canada  N6A 5C1

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