Re: Molliflex (& glycerol, & phenol)

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From:"J. A. Kiernan" <>
To:Histonet <>
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On Tue, 30 May 2000, Wayne D H wrote:

> I recently learned of an excellent, CHEAP substitute for Mollifex...
> Dilute "strong ammonia"  1 in 30 with distilled water.

Standing the faced block in water also does quite a good job. 
Mollifex evolved from a controlled testing experiment by J. R. 
Baker, published in 1941. BDH made another modification in their
commercial product. Plain water makes the tissue swell and
stand proud of the cut face of the wax, especially if you
leave the block to soak too long, and some material is wasted
when you start cutting. I've not used dilute ammonia, but would
expect it to do the same. 

The other ingredients in Mollifex (or home-made substitutes - 
see several Histonet exchanges about a month ago) probably 
restrain the swelling by not taking up as much space as water 
when they enter the hydrophilic parts of the exposed tissue. 
This is not to say that alcohol, glycerol and phenol don't have 
direct "softening" actions as well. 

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

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