Knaysi, Georges Department of Microbiology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
Last reviewed:April 2019
Show previous versions
- Stain classification
- Staining procedures
- Simple stains
- Complex staining procedures
- Nuclear stains
- Differential stains
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The use of any colored, organic compound, usually called dye, to stain tissues, cells, cell components, cell contents, or microorganisms. Stains (dyes) are an important tool for biological researchers, particularly microbiologists. The stain (Fig. 1), or dye, may be natural or synthetic. The object stained is called the substrate. The small size and transparency of microorganisms and cells make them difficult to see even with the aid of a high-power microscope. Staining facilitates the observation of a substrate by introducing differences in optical density or in light absorption between the substrate and its surroundings or between different parts of the same substrate. In electron microscopy, and sometimes in light microscopy (as in the silver impregnation technique of staining flagella or capsules), staining is accomplished by depositing ultraphotoscopic particles of a metal, such as chromium or gold (the so-called shadowing process), on the substrate; or staining is done by treating the substrate with solutions of metallic compounds, such as uranyl acetate or phosphotungstic acid. See also: Cell (biology); Dye; Electron microscope; Microbiology; Microscope; Microtechnique; Tissue
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 46 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information