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Natural sweeteners as fixatives in histopathology - A longitudinal study

Background: Fixation is the essential step in histopathological processing of tissues. Since formalin is a corroborated biohazard, its routine use as a fixative is a major health and safety concern and hence the quest for safer alternatives is envisaged. Natural sweeteners like jaggery and honey have proved to be effective tissue preservatives over 24 h. This pioneer eco-idea needs further research to expand its application. Aim: (1) To evaluate the fixative property of jaggery and honey over 6 months and ascertaining the results using hematoxylin and eosin stain (H and E). (2) To evaluate the compatibility of jaggery and honey fixed tissues for special stains - Periodic acid Schiff (PAS) and Masson–Trichrome (MT). Materials and Methods: Equal bits of commercially available animal mucosae were preserved in 30% jaggery, 20% honey, and 10% buffered formalin (control) over 6 months at intervals. Following which, tissues were subjected to routine H and E, special stains - PAS and MT using standard operating procedures established in our group. Results: Formalin, jaggery, and honey yielded satisfactory results post 6 months for H and E and special stains, jaggery was comparable to formalin in tissue preservation. Conclusion: We propose the use of eco-friendly jaggery and honey as alternatives to formalin for long term tissue preservation

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