Ziehl-Neelsen stain

Ziehl-Neelsen stain

The Ziehl-Neelsen stain, also known as the acid-fast stain, was first described by two German doctors; Franz Ziehl (1859 to 1926), a bacteriologist and Friedrich Neelsen (1854 to 1894), a pathologist. It is a special bacteriological stain used to identify acid-fast organisms, mainly Mycobacteria. "Mycobacterium tuberculosis" is the most important of this group, as it is responsible for the disease called tuberculosis (TB). It is helpful in diagnosing Mycobacterium tuberculosis since it's lipid rich cell wall makes it resistant to Gram stain. It can also be used to stain few other bacteria like "Nocardia". The reagents used are Ziehl-Neelsen carbolfuchsin, acid alcohol and methylene blue.


* 1. Cover with tissue paper
* 2. Flood slide with carbolfuchsin, the primary stain, for 2 minutes while heating with steam.
* 3. Remove paper cover, decolorize slide with a mixture of hydrochloric acid and ethanol.
* 4. Counter stain with methylene blue.


* 5% Sulphuric Acid is used for staining "Mycobacterium leprae" instead of the 20% used for "Mycobacterium tuberculosis"
* Kinyoun modification (or cold Ziehl-Neelsen technique) is also available.


* "Microbiology with Diseases by Body System", Robert W. Bauman, 2009, Pearson Education, Inc.

Online protocol examples

* [http://www-medlib.med.utah.edu/WebPath/HISTHTML/MANUALS/AFB.PDF Ziehl-Neelsen] protocol (PDF format).

External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ziehl-Neelsen stain — Ziehl Neel·sen stain tsēl nāl sən n a carbolfuchsin stain used esp. for detecting the tubercle bacillus Ziehl Franz (1857 1926) German bacteriologist. A professor in Lübeck, Ziehl introduced the carbolfuchsin stain for the tubercle bacillus in… …   Medical dictionary

  • Ziehl-Neelsen stain — an acid fast carbol fuchsin stain used specifically for identifying the tubercle bacillus [Ziehl (1857–1926), German bacteriologist; F. K. A. Neelsen (1854–94), German pathologist] …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • Ziehl-Neelsen carbolfuchsin solution — Ziehl Neelsen carbolfuchsin. See also Ziehl Neelsen staining method, at Table of Stains and Staining Methods, under stain …   Medical dictionary

  • Ziehl-Neelsen carbolfuchsin — a mixture of basic fuchsin and liquefied phenol in alcohol and purified water; used in the Ziehl Neelsen staining method (see at Stains and Staining Methods, under stain) …   Medical dictionary

  • Ziehl-Neelsen staining method — a stain for acid fast organisms. A heat fixed smear is flooded with Ziehl Neelsen carbolfuchsin, heated for 5 minutes, cooled, and washed. The slide is decolorized with acid alcohol, washed, and counterstained with methylene blue. Acid fast… …   Medical dictionary

  • Ziehl-Neelsen carbolfuchsin staining method — Ziehl Neel·sen carbolfuchsin, staining method (tsēlґ nālґsen) [Franz Ziehl, German bacteriologist, 1857–1926; Friedrich Karl Adolf Neelsen, German pathologist, 1854–1894] see under carbolfuchsin, and at Stains and Staining Methods,… …   Medical dictionary

  • Ziehl-Neelsen method — see Stains and Staining Methods, under stain …   Medical dictionary

  • stain — 1. To discolor. 2. To color; to dye. 3. A discoloration. 4. A dye used in histologic and bacteriologic technique. 5. A procedure in which a dye or combination of dyes and reagents is used to color the constituents of cells and tissues. For… …   Medical dictionary

  • Ziehl — Franz, German bacteriologist, 1857–1926. See Z. stain, Z. Neelsen stain …   Medical dictionary

  • Neelsen — Friedrich K.A., German pathologist, 1854–1894. See Ziehl N. stain …   Medical dictionary

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