Alum Hematoxylin Solution

For staining nuclei

Unit : 500 ml



REF: D26097 Categories: , ,


Probably the single most commonly used dye in histotechnology is hematoxylin or hematein, mostly used to demonstrate nuclear morphology. Such solutions usually contain hematoxylin and an alum, and are called hemalum or alum hematoxylin solutions. Many formulae have been suggested. This site, for instance, lists more than 50 hemalum solutions. They vary in the amount of hematoxylin, the amount and type of aluminum salts, solvents, oxidizing agents and stabilisers. The variations are, at times, almost contradictory and make the underlying principles on which these solutions are based difficult to make clear.

At its minimum, there are three items needed to produce an effective nuclear staining alum hematoxylin. These are:–

  • Hematoxylin or hematein, as the dye.
  • An aluminum salt, as the mordant.
  • A solvent, the simplest being water.

In addition to these three items, other ingredients may be added. These are not essential but modify the behaviour in some fashion. They include: –

  • Oxidizing agents to convert hematoxylin (the dye precursor), to hematein, (the dye).
  • Acids to adjust pH, primarily for extending the useful life of the solution but which can, depending on the solution, also affect the selectivity of the staining.
  • Stabilizers to inhibit further oxidation once the hematein has been formed, since this can shorten staining life and produce poorly defined nuclei.
  • Additions to the solvent are also common, often to inhibit evaporation or precipitation.

Due to its importance, the oxidation, or ripening, of hematoxylin to hematein is the subject of a separate discussion. The principles involved in the attachment of mordants to some dyes is also the subject of a separate discussion, although the specific application to hematein is mentioned briefly here. This page will focus on the relationship between the dye and the mordant, and the affect of adding acid.






We now offer a complete line of prepared, ready-to-use, high quality staining solutions for all standard staining procedures used by the Biological Staining Commission and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.
All solutions and concentrations are packaged and prepared in convenient and precise quantities.
Premixed ready-to-use; saves you time and effort
Consistently uniform results are obtained
For a partial list of all of our stains, please see the Stains Chart and for descriptions of the stains, see chemicals section.

Additional information


500 ml, 250 ml, 100 ml




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