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We present an algorithm to adjust the contrast of individual dyes from colour (red-green-blue) images of dye mixtures. Our technique is based on first decomposing the colour image into individual dye components, then adjusting each of the dye components and finally mixing the individual dyes to generate colour images. Specifically in this paper, we digitally adjust the staining proportions of hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) chromogenic dyes in tissue images. We formulate the physical dye absorption process as a non-negative mixing equation, and solve the individual components using non-negative matrix factorisation (NMF). Our NMF formulation includes camera dark current in addition to the mixing proportions and the individual H and E components. The novelty of our approach is to adjust the dye proportions while preserving the color of nonlinear dye interactions, such as pigments and red blood cells. In this paper we present results for only H&E images, our technique can easily be extended to other staining techniques.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of microscopy

Publication Date





319 - 330


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 1280, USA.


Humans, Prostatic Neoplasms, Hematoxylin, Eosine Yellowish-(YS), Staining and Labeling, Algorithms, Male