Imaging Reagents

Mounting Media or Anti-fade Media

Mounting media or Anti-fading media plays three important roles in microscopy:

1) Refractive index matching to reduce optical artifacts

2) Anti-fade to prevent photo bleaching of fluorophores

3) Preserve structure of cell.

Important Notes:

  • Polymerizing reagents do not preserve the cell structure well, i.e. the cells will flatten when the media sets.
  • I do not recommend mounting media with embedded stains, e.g. such as dapi.
  • Many advanced imaging labs make their own mounting media or anti-fade media for specialized imaging such as super resolution. Check literature and online forums.

There are several types of mounting Media or anti-fade reagents on the market.

Dako Fluorescent Mounting Media

  • Polymerizing, good for routine wide field imaging or slide scanning,  $
  • Agilent

Electron Microscopy Sciences

  • Many brands and levels of quality, $-$$$
  • Be sure to buy mounting media for the correct application (i.e. fluorescence)
  • Electron Microscopy Sciences

Prolong Series

Vectashield Series

  • Many levels of quality, for high quality confocal imaging, $$ – $$$
  • WARNING, can quench certain fluorophores, read technical notes carefully!
  • Vector Laboratories

Glass Coverslips

Most objectives are designed to image through glass that is 0.17 mm thick, as such be sure to buy good quality number 1.5 thickness cover glasses. This is especially important for confocal and TIRF imaging.

Imaging Chambers


LCI – Chamilide Chambers

Glass Bottom Dishes

  • Can be costly over time as they are not reusable, $$
  • Preferred if you study requires sterile conditions, if you are using reagents that are hard to clean between samples, or if you are working with biohazard and you need a sealed container
  • Be sure that glass is high quality number 1.5 thickness

IBIDI – Imaging Chambers

  • Several unique imaging formats for a variety of applications, e.g. wound healing, chemotaxis, angiogenesis, spheroids, flow etc.
  • Optical quality polymer or glass available
  • Website

Media for Live Cell Imaging

  • Should NOT contain phenol red or serum
  • pH Buffering
    • HEPES buffer – does not require CO2 but can lead to production of reactive oxygen species
    • Bicarbonate buffer – requires CO2, more gentle on cells