Gill's Aluminum Hematoxylin Variants

Ingredient Single (I) Double (II) Triple (III) Function
Hematoxylin 2 g 4 g 6 g Dye
Aluminum sulphate 17.6 g 70.4 g 158.4 g Mordant
Distilled water 750 mL 750 mL 750 mL Solvent
Ethylene glycol 250 mL 250 mL 250 mL Solvent
Sodium iodate 0.2 g 0.4 g 0.6 g Oxidant
Glacial acetic acid 20 mL 20 mL 20 mL Acidifier


Compounding procedure
Mix the ethylene glycol and water.
Add the hematoxylin, then the sodium iodate.
Add the aluminum sulphate and the acetic acid
Stir for an hour at room temperature.
Filter before use.
The solutions may be used immediately, and are stable for approximately one year.


  1. Bring sections to water with xylene and ethanol.
  2. Place into the staining solution for an appropriate time.
  3. Rinse with water and blue.
  4. Rinse well with water.
  5. Counterstain if desired.
  6. Dehydrate with ethanol, clear with xylene and mount with a resinous medium.

Expected results


  1. The three formulations are for progressive staining.
  2. The single strength solution is for cytology. Staining time is 2 minutes.
    The double strength solution is for paraffin sections. Staining time is 3 minutes.
    The triple strength solution is for paraffin sections. Staining time is 1.5 minutes.
  3. Blueing is done with alkaline solutions such as hard tap water, Scott’s tap water substitute, 0.1% ammonia water, 1% aqueous sodium acetate, 0.5% aqueous lithium carbonate etc.
  4. The aluminum sulphate should be Al2(SO4)3.18 H2O. Adjust the amount if different.
  5. Similarly, the hematoxylin should be anhydrous.
    If hydrated (C16H14O6.3 H2O) use 2.36 g, 4.72 g and 7.08 g respectively.

Culling, C.F.A., Allison, R.T. and Barr, W.T.
Cellular Pathology Technique, Ed.4.
Butterworth, London, UK.




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