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

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From:Pam Marcum <> (by way of histonet)
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I know we have a very small supply and have been told by everyone we
approach that no more Alcian Blue will be available when this is gone. It is
not making customers happy however, the reality and safety for the
manufacturer is more important here.  We need to find a replacement that is
safer to manufacture.

Pamela A Marcum
Product Development Manager

-----Original Message-----
From: jim []
Sent: Thursday, July 06, 2000 8:27 PM
To: 'J. A. Kiernan'; jim
Cc: Histonet
Subject: RE: Alcian Blue for ... [urban realities]

Yes, our supplier sold his last batch early last year to Sigma, evidently
sold some on to their sister company Aldrich, hence the price differential.
could have a good guess were the Fluka materials come from. Here is also
another "testimonial" to the "more expensive must be better" doctrine.
Its time that the histo community swap recipes that can substitute for
Blue; this particular urban myth is becoming very real.
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 Friday, July 07, 2000 1:52 AM, J. A. Kiernan
> On Thu, 6 Jul 2000, Jim Darley wrote:
> > 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
> > 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. ..."
> > ... a 1996 CD ROM will not reveal anything that has happened during
> > the past three years.
>   That's true; I don't have the 1999 version of the C.I. CD-ROM.
>   However, on May 11th 1999 the Biol Stain Commission certified a
>   batch of alcian blue 8GX for the Aldrich Chemical Company. See
>   Biotech. & Histochem. 74 (5) p. 274 (Sept 1999). So there must
>   have been some new stuff around last year.
>   Alcian blue 8GX (dye content approx 50%) is in the Sigma
>   and Aldrich catalogues for 2000-2001; same price as
>   haematoxylin. (Curiously, both dyes are about $10 cheaper for
>   25 grams if you buy from Sigma rather than Aldrich. Strange,
>   when they're the same company! In the Fluka catalogue for
>   1999-2000 - also the same firm, I think - the prices of both
>   dyes are some $20 higher than Aldrich's.) Aldrich also supply
>   a "pyridine variant" of alcian blue, which is more expensive,
>   and in the past they sold another variant called "alcec blue,"
>   which could also be used for the same staining methods (see
>   F. Green 1991: The Sigma-Aldrich Handbook of Stains, Dyes and
>   Indicators, p. 69-72).
>   A low dye content such as the 10-20% in your old ICI material
>   is not necessarily a bad thing for alcian blue, and batches
>   with high dye content (70% +) often perform badly. It seems
>   likely that the additives (dextrin, boric acid etc) are
>   needed in adequate amount.
>  John A. Kiernan,
>  Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology,
>  The University of Western Ontario,
>  LONDON,  Canada  N6A 5C1

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