Feulgen and Rossenbeck's Schiff Reagent


Ingredient Amount
Pararosanilin 1 g
Distilled water 200 mL
Sodium bisulphite, 10% aqu. 10 mL
Hydrochloric acid, 1N 20 mL
Activated charcoal (powder) 2 g

Heat the distilled water to boiling in an oversized Erlenmeyer flask. Take from the heat, and immediately add the dye. Be careful, as it foams. Shake well until the dye is dissolved. Cool to 50°C then add the hydrochloric acid and mix well. Cool to 25°C, and add the sodium bisulphite. Mix well. Stopper tightly, and store in the dark for one to two days. If not water clear, add activated charcoal and shake for about a minute. Filter, and store at 0-5°C in a tightly stoppered bottle.


  1. According to the Merck Index, commercial sodium bisulphite is made predominantly of sodium metabisulphite, and for most purposes they are interchangeable. Thus, 10 mL of a 10% solution of sodium (or potassium) metabisulphite can be added instead of sodium bisulphite. This formula then becomes identical to that of de Tomasi's Schiff's reagent.
  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.


Gray, Peter. (1954)
The Microtomist's Formulary and Guide.
Originally published by:– The Blakiston Co.
Republished by:– Robert E. Krieger Publishing Co.
    Feulgen and Rossenbeck, (1924)
    Zeitschrift für physikalische Chemie, …, v. 135, p. 203




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