Astra blue


For those of you who would like to try the Astra blue stain for mast 
cells but are unable to obtain the dye, use Alcian blue instead. 
Make a 1% solution in 0.7 N HCl (or 1 N HCL).

Astra blue is a dye of undisclosed composition, probably closely 
related to Alcian blue.  Quite possibly the name has been used to 
label more than one chemical entity.  To my knowledge it is not 
available in the USA (at least).

The advantage of using either dye over other cationic (basic) dyes is 
that they are not soluble in alcohol, so are not removed during 
dehydration.  All other blue basic dyes are more soluble in alcohol 
than they are in water and thus are easily extracted during 


Richard W. Dapson, Ph.D.
Anatech Ltd.
Battle Creek, MI
800-ANATECH (800-262-8324)
Web address:  

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