Students Corner: Outline the steps involved in Ziehl-Neelson staining


Outline the steps involved in Ziehl-Neelson staining


Ziehl-Neelsen staining, also known as the acid-fast staining technique, is a laboratory staining method used to detect acid-fast organisms such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which causes tuberculosis. The following are the steps involved in Ziehl-Neelsen staining:

  1. Preparation of the bacterial smear: A bacterial smear is prepared by transferring a small amount of the sample containing the bacteria onto a clean slide.
  2. Fixation of the smear: The smear is heat-fixed by passing the slide through a flame several times to kill the bacteria and attach them to the slide.
  3. Application of the primary stain: The primary stain, which is usually carbol fuchsin, is applied to the smear and allowed to penetrate for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Decolorization: The slide is then washed with acid-alcohol to remove excess stain from the slide. This step is crucial as it helps differentiate acid-fast bacteria from non-acid-fast bacteria. Acid-fast bacteria retain the primary stain while non-acid-fast bacteria lose the stain.
  5. Counterstaining: The smear is then counterstained with a contrasting color such as methylene blue or brilliant green. This step helps to visualize non-acid-fast bacteria that have been decolorized during the previous step.
  6. Washing and drying: The slide is washed with water to remove any excess stain and then dried.
  7. Microscopic examination: The slide is examined under a microscope, and the acid-fast bacteria will appear bright red or pink while non-acid-fast bacteria will appear blue or green.

Overall, the Ziehl-Neelsen staining technique is a valuable tool for identifying acid-fast bacteria such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis in clinical and research settings.

Asonya Gh

Asonya Gh is an entrepreneur, an entertainment and lifestyle blogger based in the Upper West Region of Ghana. He is also the CEO of OneMuzikGh.Com, a website that covers news and updates about music, events and celebrities in Ghana. He has won several awards for his blogging work. He also has a Twitter account and a Facebook page where he posts his content and interacts with his followers.

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