J Clin Pathol 46:559-560 doi:10.1136/jcp.46.6.559
  • Research Article

Safer staining method for acid fast bacilli.

  1. R C Ellis,
  2. L A Zabrowarny
  1. Department of Histopathology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woodville, South Australia.


      To develop a method for staining acid fast bacilli which excluded highly toxic phenol from the staining solution. A lipophilic agent, a liquid organic detergent, LOC High Studs, distributed by Amway, was substituted. The acid fast bacilli stained red; nuclei, cytoplasm, and cytoplasmic elements stained blue on a clear background. These results compare very favourably with acid fast bacilli stained by the traditional method. Detergents are efficient lipophilic agents and safer to handle than phenol. The method described here stains acid fast bacilli as efficiently as traditional carbol fuchsin methods. LOC High Suds is considerably cheaper than phenol.