Re: paraformal. and zinc formalin

From:Katri Tuomala <>

First question that comes to mind: are you working with routine surgical tissue and
therefore looking for a good overall fixative? Or are you working on a research
project trying to demonstrate something specific? There is no one fixative that is
ideal for everything, but neutral buffered formalin (NBF) is well established
fixative, that most special stains and even some immunos are based on. So for
routine fixation I would stick to 10% NBF, which works just as well as
paraformaldehyde, which as you said is much finickier to prepare and store.
Some people have substituted zink formalin for mercury containing fixatives for
it's lesser toxicity. There are many so called formalin substitutes commercially
available, they may produce their own problems with staining protocols and I don't
like using anything I don't know the constitution of.
This is just one opinion, I'm sure youll hear others. Good Luck!

Katri Tuomala
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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