Microwave-Accelerated Decalcification

Useful Methods for Research and Clinical Laboratories
  • Victoria J. Madden
Part of the Springer Protocols Handbooks book series (SPH)


Morphological examination of calcified structures, by either light microscopy (LM) or electron microscopy (EM) often requires a decalcification (decal) step after fixation. Further processing steps must await the completion of the decal process. The time required for full decal with ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA), a calcium (Ca) chelation agent, generally takes days to months, using routine methods. This time lag can be detrimental to both tissue morphology and antigenicity, and can hinder productivity and delay diagnostic results in clinical settings. Fortunately, decal times can be shortened dramatically with the use of a laboratory microwave (MW) oven (Keithley et al., 2000; Madden and Henson, 1997; Louw et al., 1994; Faria et al., 1992; Hellstrom and Nilsson, 1992; Ng and Ng, 1992; Roncaroli et al., 1991).


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victoria J. Madden
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pathology and Laboratory MedicineUniversity of North CarolinaChapel Hill

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