AAT Bioquest

What are the fundamental differences between Ziehl-Neelsen technique and the Kinyoun technique?

Posted March 22, 2023


Basis of differentiation

Ziehl-Neelsen technique

Kinyoun technique

Primary stain

Carbol fuchsin is used as a primary stain 

Basic fusion is used as a primary stain

Phenol concentration

A low phenol concentration is sued

A high concentration is used


Cells are heated for 5 minutes during the staining procedure

Cells are not heated during the staining procedure


The primary stain is removed by the decolorizer

The primary stain is not removed by the decolorizer 


Phenol and heat act as mordants and help to penetrate the stain into the cell

High concentration of phenol and basic fuchsin act as mordants and assist in penetration of the stain into the cell   

Concentration of primary stain

A low concentration of primary stain is used as compared to kinyoun technique

A high concentration of primary stain is used 

Toxic Effect

Phenol is heated and as a result it turns into a toxic form that harms mucous membranes

Kinyoun stain is safer because phenol is not heated 

Additional resources

Kinyoun Stain

MycoLight™ Live Bacteria Fluorescence Imaging Kit