Skip to main content

Langeron’s Alum Hematoxylin Variants

Langeron's Alum Hematoxylin Variants


Both of Langeron’s formulae are modifications of Mayer’s formulae. Langeron’s 1924 formula is a modification of Mayer’s 1896 formula, and Langeron’s 1942 formula is a modification of Mayer’s 1901 formula.

Langeron’s 1942 formula is the solution usually meant when Mayer’s hemalum is specified.


Hematoxylin4 g1 gDye
Ammonium alum50 gMordant
Potassium alum50 gMordant
Distilled water700 mL1 LSolvent
Glycerol300 mLStabilizer
Sodium iodate0.2 gOxidant
Glacial acetic acid20 mLAcidifier
Citric acid1 gAcidifier
Chloral hydrate50 gAcidifier

Compounding Procedures


  1. Grind the hematoxylin with glycerol in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Dissolve the other ingredients in water.
  3. Add the hematoxylin paste.
  4. Wash out the hematoxylin paste with the solution.
  5. Leave months to ripen.


  1. Dissolve the Alum and dye in the water.
  2. Add the other ingredients.
  3. Bring to the boil.
  4. Cool to room temperature.
  5. The solution may be used immediately.
  6. Ammonium Alum may be substituted for potassium alum.


  1. Bring sections to water with xylene and ethanol.
  2. Place into the staining solution for an appropriate time.
  3. Rinse well with water.
  4. Differentiate the 1924 solution with acid ethanol if necessary.
  5. Rinse with water and blue.
  6. Rinse well with water.
  7. Counterstain if desired.
  8. Dehydrate with ethanol, clear with xylene and mount with a resinous medium.

Expected Results

  • Nuclei  –  blue
  • Background  –  as counterstain or unstained


  • The 1924 solution is regressive, and staining time should be determined by trial.
  • The 1942 solution is progressive. Staining time is 5-10 minutes.
  • Acid ethanol is 0.5% – 1% hydrochloric acid in 70% ethanol.
  • Blueing is done with alkaline solutions such as hard tap water, Scott’s tap water substitute, 0.1% ammonia water, 1% aqueous sodium acetate, 0.5% aqueous lithium carbonate etc.

Safety Note

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


  1. Gray, Peter. (1954)
    The Microtomist’s Formulary and Guide.
    Originally published by: The Blakiston Co.
    Republished by: Robert E. Krieger Publishing Co.