What is it about?

M'Fadyean's staining method is a simple way to identify anthrax bacilli in the blood of an animal that may have died from anthrax. In this new variant, azure B is used instead of the original dye, methylene blue, which did not always provide reliable metachromatic (reddish) coloration of the capsules of the organisms.

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Why is it important?

This is a simple, inexpensive method, well suited to those countries in which anthrax is still a common disease.


I was the theoretician, suggesting (in 2003) to Michael Owen that pure azure A would be a better dye than polychromed methylene blue. I also contributed a plausible histochemical explanation for the "M'Fadyean reaction", which is the metachromasia of the capsule. Michael Owen initiated this work, recruiting me (an anatomist and histochemist) and four distinguished anthrax experts. This multi-author paper about staining Bacillus anthracis was a result of nearly 10 years of collaborative work, brought together by Peter Turbull.

Dr John A Kiernan
Western University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A simple, reliable M'Fadyean stain for visualizing the Bacillus anthracis capsule, Journal of Microbiological Methods, March 2013, Elsevier,
DOI: 10.1016/j.mimet.2013.01.009.
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