C1795 Sigma-Aldrich

Canada balsam

Mounting medium for microscopy

Synonym: Balsam Canada



Related Categories C, Cell Biology, Hematology and Histology, Stains & Dyes, A to Z, Stains and Dyes More...
refractive index   n20/D 1.522(lit.)
density   0.99 g/mL at 25 °C(lit.)


Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions are available for this Product.

General description

Canada Balsam is a natural mounting medium obtained from balsam fir trees. The optical properties of Canada Balsam are nearly identical with those of glass. Specimens must be dehydrated before using this medium. Permanent slides mounted with Canada Balsam have been stored for over a century.


25, 100 mL in glass bottle


Canada balsam has been used as a mounting medium for cellular staining.

Price and Availability

Tissue Diagnostics

All labs need water

Biomedical Applications
Safety & Documentation

Safety Information

UN1307 - class 3 - PG 3 - Xylenes, solution
WGK Germany 
Flash Point(F) 
143.6 °F
Flash Point(C) 
62 °C

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the storage temperature relate to shipping conditions?
The storage conditions that a Sigma-Aldrich catalog and label recommend for products are deliberately conservative. For many products, long-term storage at low temperatures will increase the time during which they are expected to remain in specification and therefore are labeled accordingly. Where short-term storage, shipping time frame, or exposure to conditions other than those recommended for long-term storage will not affect product quality, Sigma-Aldrich will ship at ambient temperature. The products sensitive to short-term exposure to conditions other than their recommended long-term storage are shipped on wet or dry ice. Ambient temperature shipping helps to control shipping costs for our customers. At any time, our customers can request wet- or dry-ice shipment, but the special handling is at customer expense if our product history indicates that the product is stable for regular shipment.
Which document(s) contains shelf-life or expiration date information for a given product?
If available for a given product, the recommended re-test date or the expiration date can be found on the Certificate of Analysis. These documents are located on the product detail page under Useful Links & Tools. Click on the following link to search for a Certificate of Analysis. Please click the following link to see the details on our Product Dating Information.
How do I get lot-specific information or a Certificate of Analysis?
A Certificate of Analysis is available by lot number and can be obtained through our Advanced Search Option:
How do I find price and availability?
There are several ways to find pricing and availability for our products.  Once you log onto our website, you will find the price and availability displayed on the product detail page. You can contact any of our Customer Sales and Service offices to receive a quote.  USA customers:  1-800-325-3010 or view local office numbers. 
What is the Department of Transportation shipping information for this product?
Transportation information can be found in Section 14 of the product's (M)SDS. To access the shipping information for this material, use the link on the product detail page for the product, or search here. 
My question is not addressed here, how can I contact Technical Service for assistance?
Use the option to the right to "Ask a Question" by email of a Technical Service Scientist.
Is Canada Balsam, Product No. C1795, a permanent mounting media or an aqueous mounting media?
Canada Balsam is a permanent mounting media.
How does Canada Balsam, Product No. C1795, differ from a permanent mounting media - such as DPX Mountant for histology?
Canada Balsam sets slowly; it may take months to dry to nonstickness.  Although all Hematoxylin and Eosin (H&E) stained slides fade with storage, slides mounted in Canada Balsam may fade quicker than slides mounted with DPX Mountant for histology. Canada Balsam is also a poor preservative for basic aniline dyes and slides stained for Prussian Blue.
Is Canada Balsam, Product No. C1795, commonly used in histology?
Canada Balsam is sourced from balsam fir trees (Abies balsamea). Costs are high for the naturally produced product. Synthetic mounting medias are cheaper in comparison. Since World War II, synthetic mounting medias have largely replaced naturally obtained products, such as Canada Balsam.
For what applications is Canada Balsam, Product No. C1795, recommended?
Select histological procedures may specifically call for using Canada Balsam as the mounting media.  Canada Balsam is sometimes applied "thickly", and the coverslip is omitted.  If a coverslip is applied, fading might occur more quickly.  For routine use, synthetic resinous mounting medias are most commonly used.
Show more questions
Protocols & Articles
Peer-Reviewed Papers


Related Products

Technical Service:

Our team of scientists has experience in all areas of research including Life Science, Material Science, Chemical Synthesis, Chromatography, Analytical and many others.

Bulk Ordering & Pricing:

Need larger quantities for your development, manufacturing or research applications?