MacFarland & Davenport
for Mammalian Adrenal Nerves


MacFarland & Davenport Fixative
Formamide 25 mL
Chloral hydrate 12.5 g
Ethanol, 95% 112 mL
Distilled water 112 mL
Thallium nitrate, 1% aqu.
Silver proteinate, 1% aqu.
Oxalic acid, 0.1% aqu.
Gold chloride, 0.2% aqu.
Sodium thiosulphate, 5% aqu.
Bodian developer
Hydroquinone 1 g
Sodium sulphite 5 g
Distilled water 100 mL
Formalin (strong, 100%) 1 mL
Oxalic acid 2 g
Distilled water 100 mL

Tissue sample
15µ paraffin sections of mammalian adrenal fixed in MacFarland & Davenport's fixative, specified above.


  1. Bring sections to water via xylene and ethanol.
  2. Place into the thallium nitrate solution for 1-2 days.
  3. Wash with water.
  4. Place into the silver proteinate solution for 1-2 days at 37°C.
  5. Rinse briefly with water.
  6. Place into the oxalic acid solution until differentiated (7-15 seconds).
  7. Wash with water for 1 minute.
  8. Place into the Bodian developer for 3-5 minutes.
  9. Wash with water.
  10. Tone in gold chloride for 5-10 minutes.
  11. Wash with water for 30 seconds.
  12. Place in the enhancer until adequately dark (15-30 seconds).
  13. Rinse well with water.
  14. Place in the thiosulphate for 1 minute.
  15. Wash with water.
  16. Dehydrate with ethanol.
  17. Clear with xylene and mount with a resinous medium.

Expected results


  1. Steps 13-15, the post enhancer treatment with thiosulphate, was not explicitly given in the instructions. However, the thiosulphate solution was specified as one of the solutions, so presumably was intended for use. It is likely that the omission was unintentional. Its placement in the method is the most likely, but some trials both in duration and placement may be required.
  2. Formamide is also known as methenamide, formula HCONH2.


Gray, Peter. (1954)
The Microtomist's Formulary and Guide.
Originally published by:– The Blakiston Co.
Republished by:– Robert E. Krieger Publishing Co.
    MacFarland and Davenport, (1941)
    Stain Technology, v. 16, p. 53
    Geneva, NY, USA




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