Procedures and equipment for staining large numbers of plant root samples for endomycorrhizal assay

Can J Microbiol. 1980 Apr;26(4):536-8. doi: 10.1139/m80-090.


A simplified method of clearing and staining large numbers of plant roots for vesicular-arbuscular (VA) mycorrhizal assay is presented. Equipment needed for handling multiple samples is described, and two formulations for the different chemical solutions are presented. Because one formulation contains phenol, its use should be limited to basic studies for which adequate laboratory exhaust hoods are available and great clarity of fungal structures is required. The second staining formulation, utilizing lactic acid instead of phenol, is less toxic, requires less elaborate laboratory facilities, and has proven to be completely satisfactory for VA assays.

MeSH terms

  • Botany / methods*
  • Fungi / cytology*
  • Lactates
  • Microbiological Techniques* / instrumentation
  • Phenols
  • Plants / microbiology*
  • Staining and Labeling / methods


  • Lactates
  • Phenols