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Cook & Lamb Alkali Blue for Elastic Fibres

Cook & Lamb Alkali Blue

for Elastic Fibres



  • 0.4% alkali blue in 70% ethanol
  • 4% aqueous ferric ammonium sulphate
  • 0.05% potassium hydroxide in absolute ethanol

Tissue Sample

5µ paraffin sections of neutral buffered formalin fixed tissue are suitable. Other fixatives are likely to be satisfactory.


  1. Bring sections to water via xylene and ethanol.
  2. Place in alkali blue solution for 5 minutes.
  3. Wash with water.
  4. Place in iron alum solution for 3 minutes.
  5. Wash with water.
  6. Rinse with ethanol.
  7. Rinse briefly with alcoholic potassium hydroxide to clear the background.
  8. Counterstain if wished.
  9. Dehydrate with ethanols.
  10. Clear with xylene and mount with a resinous medium.

Expected Results

  • Elastic fibres – blue (blue-green after Van Gieson)
  • Erythrocytes – pale blue-green


  • Neutral red, safranin, hemalum and eosin are suggested as counterstains.
  • The alkali blue solution lasts for several weeks.
  • This is an example of afterchrome mordanting.

Safety Note

Prior to handling any chemical, consult the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for proper handling and safety precautions.


  1. Histological demonstration techniques, (1974))
    Cook, H C.
    Butterworths, London, England