It was the year 2002 when Erik Bleuel, laboratory assistant at the laboratory of pathology at University Medical Centre Groningen, read an article on supercritical CO2 in a popular scientific magazine. Erik immediately made the link to his daily work and wondered whether this supercritical CO2 could be the long sought after replacement for the hazardous chemicals that were still generally used in laboratories such as his.
His management encouraged Erik to pursue this a bit further to see if there was any feasibility. Through the Technical University in Delft, Erik got in touch with Feyecon D&I in Weesp, one of the largest concentrations in CO2 knowledge in the world. The first tests were so positively revealing that immediately a patent application was filed.
The next step in the research was a large test set-up in the Groningen laboratory, where the CO22 processed tissues were further treated as any other traditional tissue. The resulting coupes were diagnosed by pathologist Dr. W.F.A den Dunnen, with the conclusion that the coupe quality was excellent and undistinguishable from traditionally processed tissues.
By then it was clear that the new process could very well develop into the new standard for tissue processing, because not only was the use of the clearing agent xylene made redundant, there was also a significant gain on total process time. Where the traditional process is run overnight, even in the test installation process times of within 3 hours were achieved.