Mayer's hematoxylin and chloral hydrate

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From:Phyllis Davie <>
To:"Histonet" <>
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I have been having trouble with the hematoxylin counterstain for my 
immunos.  It is generally weak, with poor nuclear detail.  I have been 
purchasing Mayer's hematoxylin, and I have tried 4 different vendors now, 
all with the same results.  My first question is; what can be causing 
this weak staining, and what can I do to fix it?  (I have been 
counterstaining from 4-15 minutes, and many times, the staining--poor as 
it is--drops off markedly after just a few racks of slides)

The second part of my question is this;  We decided to make our own 
Mayer's hematoxylin, but the recipe we found in the AFIP Laboratory 
Methods in Histotechnology, p. 52, calls for 50g of chloral hydrate.  
Unfortunately, chloral hydrate is a class IV DEA (Drug Enforcement 
Agency) regulated substance, and no-one here has a DEA license.  Can 
anyone tell me what is the purpose of the chloral hydrate in the 
hematoxylin is?

Thank you

Phyllis Davie
Clinical Laboratory Supervisor
PhenoPath Laboratories
Seattle, WA
(206)374-9009  phone
(206)374-9009  fax

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