[Histonet] Hematoxylin and commercial reagents

From:Paul Bradbury

Good for you, Karen. Like Kemlo, I came from the school of home-made 
hematoxylin. The lab windows were ringed with flasks of hematoxylin at 
varying stages of maturity. Ehrlich's, Harris's, and Carazzi's were our 
favourite brews, carefully chosen for specific purposes.

Home brewing requires some planning to anticipate future needs. 
Ehrlich's requires 6-12 months to reach fully maturity. A well ripened 
batch of Ehrlich's has an aroma that has to be experienced to be 
believed. The aroma is like a fine, well-aged port (although the taste 
is nothing close !!)

Cost-wise, home made hematoxylins make a lot of sense. They are way 
cheaper than any commercially-prepared equivalent. They are not dificult 
to prepare, anybody who can read can make hematoxylin solutions. One of 
my pet peeves is the increasing reliance on commercially-prepared 
reagents for histotechnology. The manufacturers will sell any 
reagent/solution that we are prepared to buy ... for a price that is 
far, far beyond what it is worth ... and then we complain that we need 
bigger budgets.  I shake my head when I read Histonet messages from 
subscribers who are looking for prepared solutions of neutral red, 
alcian blue, eosin, etc. These must be the same people who buy canned, 
mashed potatoes, pre-cooked rice, or any other "have dinner ready in 2 
minutes" food.

I am not suggesting that you try to brew up your own IHC reagents. Some 
things should be left to the commercial labs. But for hematoxylins, 
eosin, Schiff reagent, routine stains, reagents for Perls' Prussian 
blue, B-5 fixative, etc.  ... save your money, make your own.

Keep up the good work. Don't forget to let your employer know that you 
are saving them a fortune by preparing your own solutions. Some 
employers reward members of their staff who come up with cost-saving ideas.

Just my thoughts for what they are worth, like Kemlo I am getting old 
and opinionated,

Paul Bradbury,
Kamloops, BC

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