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Histology is the study of the plant and animal cellular organization under a microscope. It often involves the preservation, sectioning and staining of tissues before examination by light or electron microscopy.
Histology reagents serve different purposes. Some reagents, called fixatives, are designed to preserve the structural integrity of a specimen so that it can be viewed microscopically. They prevent tissue degradation and maintain the cell structures so that samples do not decay during a microscopy experiment. Fixatives cause crosslinking of proteins, so that organelles and other sample components maintain their in vivo relationship to each other. Common fixatives include aldehydes and alcohols such as formaldehyde, paraformaldehyde, ethanol and methanol.
Other widely used histology reagents are dyes. These reagents are used to enhance contrast between different structures in a cellular sample. Stains can be specific for certain organelles, structures or even molecules.
Alfa Aesar supplies many commonly used fixatives and stains for histology procedures