ZN Stain for AFB


The ZN stain (Ziehl-Neelsen stain) for AFB (Acid-Fast Bacilli) is a commonly used staining method in microbiology laboratories to detect and visualize certain types of bacteria, specifically those that are resistant to acid decolorization. This stain is primarily employed for the identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis.

The staining procedure using the ZN stain typically involves the following steps:

  1. Sample Preparation: The biological sample, such as sputum or tissue, is prepared on a microscope slide and heat-fixed to ensure the adherence of the bacteria.

  2. Carbol Fuchsin Staining: The slide is flooded with the carbol fuchsin solution and heated to facilitate the penetration of the stain into the acid-fast bacteria. This step is followed by rinsing with water.

  3. Acid Decolorization: Acid alcohol is applied to the slide to remove the stain from non-acid-fast bacteria. This step is crucial in distinguishing acid-fast from non-acid-fast organisms. The slide is rinsed with water.

  4. Counterstaining: Methylene blue or brilliant green counterstain is applied to the slide, imparting a contrasting color to non-acid-fast bacteria and background material. After staining, the slide is rinsed and air-dried.

  5. Microscopic Examination: The stained slide is observed under a microscope, typically using oil immersion microscopy. Acid-fast bacteria will appear as bright red or pink rods against a contrasting background, while non-acid-fast bacteria and other structures will be stained with the counterstain and appear blue or green.

The ZN stain for AFB, three vials of 500ml each, provides an efficient and standardized method for the detection and identification of acid-fast bacteria, particularly Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This stain is essential for diagnosing tuberculosis and is a valuable tool in clinical microbiology laboratories.

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