Held's Molybdenum Hematoxylin

Stock solution Amount
Hematoxylin 1 g 1 g Dye
Phosphomolybdic acid 15 g Mordant
Molybdic acid excess Mordant
Distilled water 30 mL 30 mL Solvent
95% ethanol 70 mL 70 mL Solvent
Solution A Amount Function
Ferric ammonium sulphate 5 g Mordant
Distilled water 100 mL Solvent
Solution B Amount Function
Stock solution 5 mL
Distilled water 95 mL Solvent


Compounding procedure

Stock solution
Mix the water and ethanol together. Dissolve the hematoxylin. Add the molybdenum compound specified and shake frequently over a period of one month until there is a distinct colour change to a deep blue-black, then decant. The staining improves with aging.


  1. Bring sections to water with xylene and ethanol.
  2. Optionally, place into solution A for 24 hours.
  3. Place into solution B for 12-24 hours.
  4. Differentiate with solution A if overstained.
  5. Wash in running tap water.
  6. Dehydrate with ethanol, clear with xylene and mount with a resinous medium.

Expected results


  1. Variation I is from the Microtomist's Formulary and Guide and specifies phosphomolybdic acid, variation II is from the Microtomists Vade Mecum and specifies molybdic acid.
  2. It is recommended for developing nerve tissues.


Gray, Peter. (1954)
The Microtomist's Formulary and Guide.
Originally published by:– The Blakiston Co.
Republished by:– Robert E. Krieger Publishing Co.
    Bolles-Lee, A.; Edited by Gatenby, J. B. & Painter, T. S., (1937)
    The microtomists's Vade-Mecum, p. 374
    Blakiston, Philadelphia, USA

Bolles Lee, A.; Edited by Gatenby, J.B. and Beams, H.W., (1950)
The Microtomist's Vade-Mecum. 11 ed.,
Churchill, London, UK.




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