Goldman's Iron Hematoxylin

Solution A Amount Function
Ferric ammonium sulphate 4 g Mordant
Distilled water 100 mL Solvent
Acetic acid, glacial 1 mL Acidifier
Sulphuric acid 0.12 mL Acidifier
Solution B Amount Function
Picric acid, saturated aqueous 100 mL Dye and acid
Sulphuric acid 0.1 mL Acidifier
Solution C Amount Function
Hematoxylin 0.5 g Dye
Distilled water 100 mL Solvent
Solution D Amount Function
70% ethanol 100 mL Solvent
Lithium carbonate, saturated aqueous 5 drops Base


Compounding procedure
Make each solution seperately.
The aqueous hematoxylin should be ripened before use.


  1. Bring sections to water, removing mercury pigment if necessary.
  2. Place into solution A for 30 minutes - 24 hours.
  3. Wash in running tap water for 10 minutes.
  4. Place in solution B for 3 hours or longer.
  5. Wash in running tap water for 15 minutes.
  6. Place in solution C for 1 hour.
  7. Wash in running tap water for 15 minutes.
  8. Blue with solution D.
  9. Counterstain if desired.
  10. Dehydrate with ethanol, clear with xylene and mount with a resinous medium.

Expected results


  1. The stock solutions are stable for some time.
  2. The technique was originally intended for the demonstration of protozoa.
  3. The method was designed for paraffin sections of material fixed with formalin variants, Bouin's or Zenker's fluids.
  4. Overstaining occurs only if sections are left in hematoxylin for several hours.
  5. Bouin fixed tissue is not as intensely stained as with other fixatives.
  6. The time in picric acid (solution B) is necessary, reducing it causes overstaining.


Lillie, R.D., (1954)
Histopathologic technique and practical histochemistry Ed.2
Blakiston, New York, USA.
    Goldman, (1951)
    American Journal of Clinical Pathology, v.21, p.198



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