Utilizing Almond Oil with Vitamin E as an Alternative Fixative to Formalin

  • Sanpreet Singh Sachdev Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, Government Dental College and Hospital, Mumbai. http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7655-8180
  • Tabita Joy Chettiankandy Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, Government Dental College and Hospital, Mumbai. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6839-6959
  • Manisha Ahire Sardar Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, Government Dental College and Hospital, Mumbai. https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2003-1544
  • Prajwalit Prakash Kende Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Government Dental College and Hospital, Mumbai. https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5688-6371
  • Rajesh Prabhakar Gaikwad Department of Periodontology, Government Dental College and Hospital, Mumbai.
  • Lynette Custodio Fernandes Department of Periodontology, Government Dental College and Hospital, Mumbai.
Keywords: Formaldehyde, fixation, histopathology, histotechnique


Introduction: The health hazards resulting from exposure to formalin have given rise to the need of developing safer alternative fixatives. Almond oil has been widely used in the aromatherapy and cosmetic industry for its good penetrating and skin-rejuvenating properties, whereas vitamin E is a widely known anti-oxidant. The present study aimed to test the fixative efficacy of almond oil with vitamin E as compared to formalin. Material and Methods: The present study was conducted on 42 tissue specimens obtained by crown lengthening procedure or other minor surgical procedures. The specimens were divided into two groups- 21 specimens in the study group were fixed in oil fixative while others were fixed in formalin for 24 hours. Routine histopathological procedures were done and the histomorphological parameters related to the preservation of tissue architecture as well as cellular details were assessed. Result: The preservation of tissue architecture and cellular details in tissues fixed in AO were comparable to that of tissues fixed in formalin. Although statistically non-significant, all the three investigators agreed that oil-fixed tissues exhibited superior nuclear details as compared to formalin. Conclusion: Almond oil with vitamin E can be effectively used for the fixation of tissues, providing results that are comparable to formalin-fixed tissues. The non-toxic, non-irritant chemical nature of almond oil coupled with its ease of availability, enable it to be utilized safely even in remote areas


Kiernan JA. Formaldehyde, formalin, paraformaldehyde, and glutaraldehyde: what they are and what they do. Micros today. 2000;8(1):8-13.

Swenberg JA, Kerns WD, Mitchell RI, Gralla EJ, Pavkov KL. Induction of squamous cell carcinomas of the rat nasal cavity by inhalation exposure to formaldehyde vapor. Cancer res. 1980;40(9):3398-402.

Lu K, Collins LB, Ru H, Bermudez E, Swenberg JA. Distribution of DNA adducts caused by inhaled formaldehyde is consistent with induction of nasal carcinoma but not leukemia. Toxicol Sci. 2010;116(2):441–51.

Kwon SC, Kim I, Song J, Park J. Does formaldehyde have a causal association with nasopharyngeal cancer and leukaemia?. Ann Occup Environ Med. 2018;30(1):5.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration – Formaldehyde. Available at https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.1048 [Last accessed on Feb 08, 2022]

Ahmad Z. The uses and properties of almond oil. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2010;16(1):10-2.

Azzi A, Stocker A. Vitamin E: non-antioxidant roles. Prog Lipid Res. 2000;39(3):231-55.

Sinha N, Nayak MT, Sunitha JD, Dawar G, Rallan N, Gupta S. Comparitive efficacies of a natural fixative with a conventional fixative. J Oral Maxillofac Pathol. 2017;21(3):458.

Yatsishina EB, Pozhidaev VM, Sergeeva YE, Malakhov SN, Slushnaya IS. An Integrated Study of the Hair Coating of Ancient Egyptian Mummies. J Anal Chem. 2020;75(2):262-74.

Kodad O, Socias I, Company R. Variability of oil content and of major fatty acid composition in almond (Prunus amygdalus Batsch) and its relationship with kernel quality. J Agric Food Chem. 2008;56(11):4096–101.

Sabarinath B, Sivapathasundharam B, Sathyakumar M. Fixative properties of honey in comparison with formalin. J Histotechnol. 2014;37(1):21-5.

Al-Maaini R, Bryant P. Honey as an alternative to formalin in the demonstration of connective tissue components. J Histotechnol. 2008;31(2):67-72.

Özkan N, Şalva E, Cakalağaoğlu F, Tüzüner B. Honey as a substitute for formalin?. Biotech Histochem. 2012;87(2):148-53.

Start RD, Layton CM, Cross SS, Smith JH. Reassessment of the rate of fixative diffusion. J Clin Path. 1992;45(12):1120-1.

Bancroft JD, Gamble M, Theory and Practice of Histological Techniques. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2002;63–108

Raja DS, Sultana B. Potential health hazards for students exposed to formaldehyde in the gross anatomy laboratory. J Environ Health. 2012;74(6):36-41.

Kuriyama H, Watanabe S, Nakaya T, Shigemori I, Kita M, Yoshida N, et al. Immunological and psychological benefits of aromatherapy massage. Evid-Based Complementary Altern Med. 2005;2(2):179-84.

Original Article