We established a new “ecological” Grocott stain for demonstrating fungi, based upon a 4R principle of refusal, reduction, reuse, and recycle of waste management. Conventional Grocott stain employs environmentally harsh 5% chromic acid for oxidization. Initially, we succeeded in reducing the concentration of chromic acid from 5% to 1% by incubating the solution at 60°C and using five-fold diluted chromic acid solution at which point it was reusable. Eventually, we reached the refusal level where 1% periodic acid oxidization was efficient enough, when combined with preheating of sections in the electric jar, microwave oven, or pressure pan. For convenience sake, we recommend pressure pan heating in tap water for 10 min. Stainability of fungi in candidiasis and aspergillosis was comparable with conventional Grocott stain, while Mucor hyphae showed enhanced staining. The modified sequence was further applicable to detecting a variety of mycotic pathogens in paraffin sections. Our environmentally-friendly Grocott stain also has the advantage of avoiding risk of human exposure to hexavalent chromium solution in the histopathology laboratory. The simple stain sequence is can be easily applied worldwide.
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