Virchows Archiv

, Volume 447, Issue 1, pp 94–98 | Cite as

Recolorization of museum specimens: a modification of Romhanyi’s technique based on pyridine/nicotine hemochromogen reactions

Original Article


Romhanyi’s technique for preservation and restoration of color in museum specimens is almost unknown outside Hungary. The technique was based on the use of pyridine, nicotine and sodium dithionite (sodium hydrosulphite) for restoring the natural red color of formalin-fixed gross specimens. We developed a modification of the original technique using a mounting medium containing citrate-phosphate-dextrose (CPD) buffer and glycerin to control pH and osmolality. Specimens recolorized with the modified and improved Romhanyi technique remained stable with a natural red color, and no histological deterioration, for more than 18 years. The technique demonstrates the formation of red colored complexes between nicotine and pyridine and ferro-hemochromes such as hemoglobin, myoglobin and other cytochromes in tissues, giving specimens a natural color. The modified technique enables further improvement for the old process of recolorization of museum specimens. In addition, it opens up new methods for demonstration of nicotine, pyridine and their analogues in biological tissues.


Pathology museum specimens Recolorization technique Color preservation Pyridine hemochromogen Nicotine hemochromogen 



The authors wish to thank the present and past Directors of Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum, Dr. K. Mohandas and Dr. M.S. Valiathan, and Dr. Ashok Mukherjee, former Director, Institute of Pathology, New Delhi, for their interest in the work and encouragement shown, and staff of Medical Illustration Unit for technichal assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Sandhyamani
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. K. Sindhu
    • 3
  • S. Sriramachari
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PathologySree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and TechnologyTrivandrumIndia
  2. 2.LaavanyaTrivandrumIndia
  3. 3.Institute of Pathology (Indian Council of Medical Research)New DelhiIndia

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