Shum & Hon's PTAH

Ingredient Amount Function
Hematein, 0.8 g. Dye
Phosphotungstic acid 9 g Mordant
Distilled water 1 L Solvent


Compounding procedure
Combine the hematein, phosphotungstic acid and 10 mL of the water and grind them to a paste with a pestle and mortar. Wash the contents into a beaker with the rest of the water. Bring the solution to a boil, then cool and filter.


  1. Bring sections to water with xylene and ethanol.
  2. Do a Mallory bleach using 0.25% potassium permanganate.
  3. Rinse well with water.
  4. Place into the PTAH solution for 12 - 24 hours at room temperature.
  5. Rinse well with water.
  6. Dehydrate with ethanol, clear with xylene and mount with a resinous medium.

Expected results


  1. Observe the colour of the sludge while grinding as a good sample of hematein will be chocolate brown. If the sludge is pale, the final solution may not be satisfactory.
  2. The staining may be done in an oven at about 60°C for a few hours, but the results are often less satisfactory.
  3. Many substances have been stated to be stained blue. Sometimes the red staining overshadows blue staining, and the section may need to be washed to remove excess red.


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




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