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An instrument for cutting thin sections of tissues or other materials for microscopical examination.



an instrument for obtaining thin sections from pieces of organs and tissues that have been frozen or coated with paraffin or pyroxylin for examination under a microscope. The first microtome was built in the first half of the 19th century by the German biologist A. Oschatz, a co-worker of J. Purkyně.

There are two kinds of microtomes. In the first type, the object is fixed in a holder and is raised by means of a micrometer screw, and the microtome knife moves horizontally (sled microtome). In the second type, the object moves and the knife is fixed. To produce sections of unprepared tissues that are to be examined immediately (for example, during surgical operations when histological analysis is urgently required), a freezing microtome is used; in this case the piece of tissue is frozen in an aqueous or saline solution by means of liquid carbon dioxide. The thickness of the sections produced by a microtome from substances coated with paraffin is 1–2 microns (μ); for substances coated with pyroxylin, 10–12 μ; and for frozen substances, not more than 10 μ. A special version of the microtome, called an ultramicrotome, is used to produce very thin sections (down to 200 angstroms) for examination under an electron microscope.


Romeis, B. Mikroskopicheskaia tekhnika. Moscow, 1954. (Translated from German.)
Borrmann, H. “Mikrotome in Wissenschaft und Forschung.” In Medizintechnik. Berlin, 1958. Pages 102–112.


References in periodicals archive ?
The blocks were removed from the mold and trimmed slightly to fit the holder and sectioned with a portable microtome (Uchida DK-10 slide microtome, Edmund Scientifics, Tonawanda, New York), which has a blade fixed at 0 degrees relative to the surface of the block (Figure 3).
Consumables: microtome blades, paraffin, solvents, slides-coverlips, slide labels, tissue cassettes, mounting media
RMC's tissue processor and line of microtomes will be sold alongside our immunohistochemistry and recently launched special stain slide stainers.
Rockleigh, NJ 07647 (201) 767-1100 Instrumentation: Microscopes, measuring equipment, microphotographic equipment, microtomes Services offered: Technical service, training
Some of the consumables must be compatible with a range of existing equipment currently utilised within the department, such as casette printers, staining machines, coverslippers, tissue processors, microtomes and embedding centres.
Supply of fully automatic rotary microtomes also provided active cooling system integral to the block during the cutting phase (system necessary for the cutting of the sentinel lymph node for the execution speed).