Re: soaking blocks

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From:Victoria Baker <>
To:"Ryan.Linda" <>
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This is a "hot" debate for many.  When I worked in
Dermatopathology at NYU, we routinely soaked our
blocks in ammonia water (1.5% solution in dH2O), when
I worked in surgical pathology at Temple university I
found it to be very helpful with bone marrow
preparations.  In several other positions I've also
relied on this prep in ice for tough blocks.  Others
prefer using soapy water, but this leaves a residue,
and I have to say does not soften the tissue the same
way that ammonia water on ice will.  The smell is
hideous, but it works quickly and effectively, also it
doesn't interfere with Immunohistochemical studies or
many other special procedures.   

Currently I haven't used ammonia water with my tissue.
 Where I work now, I haven't had the need to use
ammonia on my blocks because I have the time to let
them soak on ice/water until they are hydrated enough
to cut decently.  I don't have to deal with turn
around time in the same manner, so I don't use it. The
smell aside, I would still swear by it, because it has
saved me more times than I can count in the 20 years
I've been in Histology.  The only con I can see about
it is the smell. 

Hope this helps.


Vikki Baker
American Health Foundation
Valhalla, New York
--- "Ryan.Linda" <> wrote:
> How many out in HistoLand soak your blocks in ice
> water with ammonium
> hydroxide added?  What are the pros and cons(other
> that the odor!) of using
> ammonium hydroxide?
> Thanks  
> Linda Ryan, BS, HT(ASCP)HTL
> National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
> 111  T. W. Alexander Dr.
> Bldg./rm.: 101/C-262
> P.O. Box 12233
> Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
> (919) 541-4880(Laboratory)

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