A mechanistic study of the histochemical reactions between aldehydes and Basic Fuchsin in acid alcohol used as a simplified substitute for Schiff's reagent

Research paper by R. W. Horobin, I. M. Kevill-Davies

Indexed on: 01 Sep '71Published on: 01 Sep '71Published in: The Histochemical journal


For the identification of polysaccharides after periodic acid oxidation or of DNA after acid hydrolysis, a solution of 0.5% w/v Basic Fuchsin in acid alcohol (water-ethanol-concentrated hydrochloric acid 80:20:1 by volume) may be used instead of Schiff's reagent. Sections are stained in the Fuchsin solution for 20 min, after which the unreacted dye is washed off with ethanol. Except for its yellower colour the Fuchsin staining is almost indistinguishable from Schiff's reagent staining.Histochemical blocking studies indicated that the Fuchsin stain, like Schiff's reagent, reacts with aldehyde groups or subsequent oxidation products. The results of studies of model systems (cellulose film oxidized by periodic acid and also of aqueous formaldehyde solution) in which infra-red spectroscopy and, where appropriate, chromatography were used are consistent with the initial coloured products being azomethines which may react further to produce coloured secondary amine derivatives.