The Gram staining method, named after the Danish bacteriologist who originally devised it in 1844, Hans Christian Gram, is one of the most important staining techniques in microbiology. It is almost always the first test performed for the identification of bacteria. The primary stain of the Gram's method is crystal violet. Crystal violet is sometimes substituted with methylene blue, which is equally effective.
The microorganisms that retain the crystal violet-iodine complex appear purple brown under microscopic examination. These microorganisms that are stained by the Gram's method are commonly classified as Gram-positive or Gram non-negative. Others that are not stained by crystal violet are referred to as Gram negative, and appear red.