Using mouse tissue, we studied electron opacity effect of tannic acid for transmission electron microscopic staining. Tannic acid-glutaraldehyde in 0.1M phosphate buffer was used as a fixative. To compare with this we have tested another method consisting of heavy metal staining after treatment of tannic acid in sodium tetraborate (borax) on glutaraldehyde-fixed sections. We have achieved equally consistent electron opacity in both methods. The elastin, collagen, basal lamina of skin and gap junctions of the epithelial cells gave excellent results, while it was good for glycogen, cilia, and plasma. Also fat cells and lipid droplets gave good preservation when tannic acid was added in the fixative. However, prolonged fixation in tannic acid-added fixative was hazardous for further processing, i.e., sectioning problem and deep electron opacity background.
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