Histochemical staining advise

Gary V. Deutschmann, Sr. raiar at inlink.com
Mon Feb 19 21:14:25 EST 1996

L.Bloksberg at genesis.co.nz (Dr Leonard N. Bloksberg) wrote:

>First, thanks to those who recomended D. A. Johansen's book
>"Plant Microtechnique" (McGraw Hill, NY 1940) as a manual
>for histochemical staining plant material to differentiate
>phloem and xylem.  I have found many protocols which appear
>to meet my needs.
>	Now I have some questions.  Many of the protocols call
>Picric acid (highly explosive) and chromic acid (delequescent
>and carcinogenic).  I may not even be able to get these chemicals
>and would like to avoid them anyway.
>	The picric acid is usually used as picric acid saturated 
>alcohol to resolve safranin stained tissue.  Can I substitute 
>a little nitric acid, or nitric acid and phenol instead?
>	The chromic acid is used to macerate tissue as a solution
>of 10% nitric acid and 10% chromic acid.  Can I substitute 
>10% sulfuric for the chromic to macerate woody tissue to view
>cell types?
>	Please send responses directly to my email address.  Thanks
>Lenny Bloksberg
>L.Bloksberg at genesis.co.nz
I would say try it and see!
I wouldn't worry too much about picric acid and the flamability
thereof, I used it daily for over 7 years with a cigarette hanging out
of my mouth and a bunsen stem sealer plate right next it and I'm still
Anything made with water is carcinogenic so I wouldn't worry about
that too much either.


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