Alexander's Schiff Reagent


Ingredient Amount
Pararosanilin 1 g
Distilled water 200 mL
Sodium hydrosulphite 1 g
Activated charcoal (powder) 1 g

Bring the water to boiling. Remove from the heat and add the dye (be careful of foaming). Filter while hot. Immediately add the hydrosulphite and activated charcoal. Shake thoroughly, and filter. Store at 0-5°C in a tightly stoppered bottle.


  1. Sodium hydrosulphite is also known as sodium dithionite, Na2S2O4. Do not confuse with sodium hyposulphite (photographic hypo), an older name for sodium thiosulphate.
  2. The solution should be colourless or very pale amber. Brown solutions will often stain poorly. Usually these have been made from a batch of basic fuchsin containing too little pararosanilin.


Lillie, R.D., (1954)
Histopathologic technique and practical histochemistry Ed.2
Blakiston, New York, USA.




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