Mallory & Wright's Alum Hematoxylin Variants

Ingredient Standard Strong Function
Hematoxylin 1 g 1 g Dye
Ammonium alum, saturated aqueous 100 mL 100 mL Mordant
Distilled water 300 mL Solvent


Compounding procedure
Dissolve the hematoxylin in the Alum solution by warming if necessary.
Add the water if the standard solution is being used.
Plug the container with cotton wool.
Ripen for approximately ten days.
Stopper tightly.
Filter before use.
The solution is stable for 2-3 months.
A small crystal of thymol may be added.


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

Expected results


  1. The standard solution is for routine, formalin fixed tissues.
  2. The strong solution is recommended for Zenker fixed tissues.
  3. The staining time should be determined by trial.
  4. Acid ethanol is 0.5% - 1% hydrochloric acid in 70% ethanol.
  5. 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.


Mallory, F. B. & Wright, J.H., (1904)
Pathological technique, Ed.3
W. B. Saunders, Philadelphia, USA.




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