Zamboni's are for ice rinks

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From:Tim Morken <>
Date:Fri, 18 Jun 1999 13:17:09 EDT
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I have no idea how Zamboni's fixative works.  I was working in EM for years 
before I ever heard of Zamboni's, and that was only because I was studying 
for the HT exam. I'll bet this is the best known unused fixative in the USA 
(at least). In all my years of EM and Histology (15) I've never met anyone 
who had actually used it for anything yet it is in all the US histology 
books and on all the certification tests.

So, I'd like to know if anyone does use it!

Tim Morken, B.A., EMT(MSA), HTL(ASCP)
Infectious Disease Pathology
Centers for Disease Control
1600 Clifton Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30333


FAX:  (404)639-3043

----Original Message Follows----
From: "J. A. Kiernan" <>
To: "Hall, Phil" <>
CC: "'Histonet'" <>
Subject: Re: "Zamboni" Solution (and another question)
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 1999 12:11:59 -0400 (EDT)

On Fri, 18 Jun 1999, Hall, Phil wrote:

 > I am trying a method for NADPH Diaphorase found in the literature.  The
 > first step given is to fix in Zamboni solution.  Does anyone have the
 > formula to make this up?

   It is strange that this solution has acquired Zamboni's name.
   The abstract by Zamboni & de Martino 1967 (J Cell Biol 35: 148A)
   does not state the composition of the mixture. It was given in
   detail by Stefanini, de Martino & Zamboni 1967 (Nature 216: 173-174)
   but shouldn't that make it Stefanini's fixative? It was introduced
   for EM of spermatozoa, but Accini, Spiel & de Martino 1974
   (Histochemistry 42: 257-264) found that it preserved antigens well
   for subsequent EM immunohistochemistry. This makes de Martino the
   most consistent name in the history of the fixative.

   An interesting thing about this mixture is that although it
   provides better structural preservation than neutral buffered
   formaldehyde (paraffin sections of kidney, brain; Histochem J
   17: 1131-1146) the picrate in it does not precipitate
   proteins at the neutral pH of the solution. It is therefore
   completely different from Bouin and other fixatives that rely
   on the "coagulant" property of picric acid. Does anyone out there
   have some smart ideas about how neutral picrate might contribute
   to the protection of both structure and antigenicity?

  John A. Kiernan,
  Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology,
  The University of Western Ontario,
  LONDON,  Canada  N6A 5C1

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