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is it possible to section bone without decalcification? - (Oct/29/2012 )

Dear all,

for a study we need a way to cut sections of bone ( cow, chicken and pig) without decalcification for histological purposes. This because we want to see a substance that binds to the calcium.
The maximum thickness should be around 50 um. Does anyone has experience in this matter or a crazy but good idea about this?

Kind regards,



The problem as I see it will be that bone is brittle so sectioning without decalcification will be quite difficult at that thickness. If you were going for 1-2 mm sections I would have said to use a saw. You might be able to permeate the bone with a substance that is equally as hard as the bone and then try cutting with a saw and polishing the ends down (similar to lens grinding or knife sharpening) , but it would use a lot of bone and still might not work.

It may be possible to remove the phosphorus from the bone rather than the calcium, but I'm not enough of a chemist to be able to work out how...

Just found this paper too:

Biotech Histochem. 2006 Mar-Jun;81(2-3):99-103.
New embedding medium for sectioning undecalcified bone.

Mohsin S, O' Brien FJ, Lee TC.


Thank you for your response. I will try both options.