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How to Make Prepared Mount Microscope Slides?



Making prepared mount slides is more involved, although the advantage is that once you are done you can keep them for a long time.

First your specimen needs to be sliced very thin. The best tool for this is a microtome, an instrument used to cut materials into featherweight slices.

Once the specimen is thin enough, place it on your slide. You will have to remove any excess water. Depending on the specimen you can air dry, blot, or use a heat source to dry the sample.

You will want to add a dye like methylene blue in order to stain the intricate structures of the specimen. You can do add a drop of the dye to the sample, then place the cover on top. Adding a fixative to the specimen before you put on the cover slip will help prevent decay.

The specimen to the right, a piece of a mouse quadriceps, is stained with Hematoxylin. Note how clearly you can see the tiny structures, which are individual muscle fibers.

If you have a specimen that is in a wet mount, there is a really simple way to stain it. Place a drop of dye on the edge of the cover slip. Put a small piece of paper towel at the opposite edge. As the paper towel absorbs the liquid, the dye should be pulled under the cover and across the specimen.

The prepared mount method is more complex, so it's not often done by the hobby microscopist. These slides are for biological or pathological research.



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