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Dawes’ Trichrome for Fetal & Endocrine Tissue

Dawes' Trichrome

for Fetal & Endocrine Tissue



Solution A-1

Hematoxylin, 10% in 95% ethanol16mL
Ethanol, 95%64mL

Solution A-2

Ammonium ferric sulphate24g
Ferrous sulphate24g
Distilled water100mL

Solution A-3

Chromotrope 2R0.2g
Acetic acid, glacial1.2mL
Distilled water160mL

Preparation of Working Solution A

  1. Make each A solution ensuring all solids are dissolved.
  2. Combine solutions A-1 and A-2 and mix well.
  3. Add solution A-3 to the combined solution.

Solution B

Phosphomolybdic acid1.5g
Aniline blue or Methyl blue3g
Acetic acid, glacial1.5mL
Picric acid, sat. aqueous150mL
Distilled water160450

Tissue Sample

5µ paraffin sections of Bouin’s picric-acetic-formalin fixed fetal tissue, or endocrine tissue fixed in the Bouin’s mixture, but without the acetic acid.


  1. Bring sections to water via xylene and ethanol.
  2. Place into solution A for 4 minutes.
  3. Wash with tap water.
  4. Place in solution B for 3 minutes.
  5. Wash with distilled water.
  6. Dehydrate quickly with 2 changes of 95% ethanol.
  7. Rinse with absolute ethanol.
  8. Clear with xylene and mount with a resinous medium.

Expected Results

  • Nuclei  –  black
  • Muscle  –  Orange-red
  • Collagen  –  Blue


  • The author states that both working solutions are stable and can be made in bulk. Multiply the amounts given by 10.
  • The method is suitable for staining sections in bulk.
  • The method is suitable as a counterstain for aldehyde fuchsin as well as being a general trichrome.

Safety Note

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


  1. Dawes, R. L. F., (1972),
    A simple connective tissue stain suitable for foetuses and endocrine organs.
    Medical Laboratory Technology, v. 29, Nº 1, p.27.