Cook & Lamb Alkali Blue
for Elastic Fibres


0.4% alkali blue in 70% ethanol
4% aqueous ferric ammonium sulphate
0.05% potassium hydroxide in absolute ethanol

Tissue sample
5µ paraffin sections of neutral buffered formalin fixed tissue are suitable.
Other fixatives are likely to be satisfactory.


  1. Bring sections to water via xylene and ethanol.
  2. Place in alkali blue solution for 5 minutes.
  3. Wash with water.
  4. Place in iron alum solution for 3 minutes.
  5. Wash with water.
  6. Rinse with ethanol.
  7. Rinse briefly with alcoholic potassium hydroxide to clear the background.
  8. Counterstain if wished.
  9. Dehydrate with ethanols.
  10. Clear with xylene and mount with a resinous medium.

Expected results


  1. Neutral red, safranin, hemalum and eosin are suggested as counterstains.
  2. The alkali blue solution lasts for several weeks.
  3. This is an example of afterchrome mordanting.


Histological demonstration techniques, (1974))
Cook, H C.
Butterworths, London, England




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