Re: formalin substitutes- web sites

<< Previous Message | Next Message >>
From:Jeff Silverman <> (by way of histonet)
To:histonet <>
Content-Type:text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

This was an excellent histonet posting some time ago by a recognized
authority on lab safety that reviews all the formalin substitutes.  Dick,
hope I'm not infringing on any copyrights ar nothin'!  This is almost
everything you want to know about em.
Jeff Silverman

Raymond Koelling asked for an exhaustive list of commercial, non-formalin
fixatives.  Here are all of the ones that I know about; some of them may be
sold under different names by other vendors:

GlyoFix from Shandon Lipshaw uses glyoxal as the active ingredient;
produces aldehyde-type fixation patterns.

Histochoice from Amresco; active ingredients essentially undisclosed
(aldehydic addition compounds); mode of action unknown.

HistoFix, formerly from Trend Scientific, perhaps still available from
Baxter, contains pyrrolid-2-one, a polyol, a urea and a zinc salt; mode of
action unknown.

Mirsky's Fixative from National Diagnostics is an aqueous solution of a
complex di-aldehyde (possible di-aldehyde starch); mode of action may be
aldehyde-like, but very slow.

NoToX from EarthSafe Industries, uses a complex aldehyde (possibly
di-aldehyde glucose) in about 70% alcohol with antiseptic and antifungal
agents; produces a combination of aldehyde- and alcohol-type fixation

OmniFix II and OmniFix 2000 from AnCon Genetics is an alcohol-based
solution containing glycol and salts; produces alcohol-type fixation

Prefer from ANATECH LTD., uses glyoxal as the active ingredient; produces
aldehyde-type fixation patterns.

SafeFix II from CMS uses glyoxal as the active ingredient; produces
aldehyde-type fixation patterns.

STF (Streck Tissue Fixative) from Streck Laboratories contains diazolidinyl
urea, 2-bromo-2-nitropreopane-1,3 diol zinc sulfate and a small amount of
formaldehyde as active ingredients; mode of action unknown.

There are two fixatives intended for microwave use:

Preserve from Energy Beam Sciences uses glyoxal as the active ingredient;
produces aldehyde-type fixation patterns..

MicroFix from Energy Beam Sciences is an alcohol/polyethylene glycol
solution that replaces Merck's KryoFix, which is no longer available;
produces alcohol-type fixation patterns.

A rather uncomplimentary review of some of these products (Histochoice,
KryoFix, Mirsky, NoToX, Omnifix II and STF appeared last year (Prento &
Lyon, 1997. Commercial formalin substitutes for histopathology.  Biotechnic
& Histochem, 72:273-282).  Readers should note that none of them were used
as directed or intended by the manufacturers (fixation at 4 degrees C), so
the results are questionable.  Also, none of the glyoxal-based fixatives
(GlyoFix, Prefer, SafeFix II, Preserve) were tested; these seem to be the
most favored substitutes in the USA at least, because they most nearly
mimic the morphological patterns obtained with formalin without
formaldehyde's unfavorable effects on immunoreactivity.

This should serve as a start.  Histonetters, please add to this list if you
have information not included here.


Richard W. Dapson, Ph.D.
1020 Harts Lake Road
Battle Creek, MI  49015
800-262-8324 or 616-964-6450
Fax 616-964-808

> From: Robin K Ryan <>
> To:
> Subject: formalin substitutes- web sites
> Date: Tuesday, November 17, 1998 8:52 PM
> Hi to all Histonetters,
> I need HELP!  I am an instructor for a web based histotechnology program
> Florida and am diligently searching for a web site(s) discussing formalin
> substitutes that my students can visit for our Module on fixation.  I
> searched and searched using any title and topic I can think of and cannot
> find a web site.  I know that with all of the research going on with
> formalin substitutes that there has to be information on the Web.  Can
> anyone out there help me?  I would greatly appreciate it (my students
> probably won't because it will generate a project), but I thank you!
> Kaye Ryan, BA, HT(ASCP)
> Gainesville, Florida
> e-mail

<< Previous Message | Next Message >>