Re: Alcian blue for marking margins

From:Aidan Schurr


Went through this same dilemma about a year ago.  Have you tried different "indian" inks?  I quickly discovered that all so called indian inks are definitely not created equal...  I had to trial about a dozen or so before finding a suitable one.  The ink currently used is (unfortunately for you, fortunately for us) manufactured here in New Zealand, and goes onto wet or dry, fixed or fresh tissue with little mess.  Once on it stays there.  Really good microscopic marking - obvious layer, no 'weak' spots, no 'bacteria-like' granules at high power.  Best of all it costs about $30NZ for a litre (that's about 10 pounds, or $15US [per *liter* for you guys!!]).  We also have a couple of other inks designed for technical drawing pens (as an architect would use) made by "Rotring" (should be available virtually anywhere).  We use their Blue and Green, which we find have similar characteristics to the black, but are more expensive.

Best of luck


aidan schurr
section head, histology
hutt valley district health board
lower hutt
new zealand
++64 4 570 9173

>>> RSH Histology  30/11/2001 >>>
With difficulties in obtaining adequate quality (and affordable) Alcian blue
8GX in the UK, a problem I suspect encountered elsewhere, I would be
interested to hear of alternative dyes/methods in use. Indian ink has not
proved to be
"consultant friendly" and commercial "margin kits" have not proved
processing and staining "fast" here. Any suggestions - useful alternative
dyes etc gratefully
Good quality Alcian blue 8GX is our gold standard (clean in use, easy to
paint/dip, perfect for microscopy with H&E) but it's disappearing fast!

Jim Almond
Head BMS
Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

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