Journal of Cytology
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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 113-117

Comparison of honey with ethanol as an oral cytological fixative: A pilot study

Department of Oral Pathology, Navodaya Dental College, Raichur, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Amita Singh
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Navodaya Dental College, Raichur - 584 101, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-9371.160563

Clinical trial registration 224

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Introduction: The fixation of cytological smears using ethanol is the gold standard. But, there exists a quench to search a new alternative for it due to it being expensive, carcinogenic and not freely available. Honey has various properties, like dehydrant, anti-bacterial and antioxidant. The use of honey as a preservative in funerary practices is well documented. A thorough search in the literature did not reveal any matter for the utility of honey as a fixative in cytological smear, but its use in histopathology is well recognized. Aims: To analyze the efficacy of cytological smears fixed in ethanol and 20% unprocessed honey and to compare the efficacy between the two fixatives. Materials and Methods: The study group comprised of 30 normal healthy individuals who willingly gave written consent. Prior to the collection of buccal cells, subjects were asked to rinse their mouth with water. Buccal cells were collected using a wooden ice cream stick. Two smears were collected from each subject. One smear was fixed in ethanol and the other was fixed in unprocessed 20% honey. The slides were washed in tap water for about 30 s, following which they were subjected to the conventional Papanicolaou staining procedure. The slides thus fixed were evaluated separately for ethanol and honey. The cytoplasmic and nuclear details were scored for 50 cells in each slide. Data were statistically analyzed using the chi-square test and P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: Ninety percent of the ethanol-fixed (EF) smears were adequately fixed as compared with the honey-fixed (HF) smears, which were 80% adequate. The P-value obtained was 0.47 and the data were statistically insignificant. Conclusion: Both EF and HF smears were at par with each other, and honey can be safely used as a substitute to ethanol.

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