Saturated choline phosphatides are extracted during conventional tissue processing for electron microscopy. To facilitate autoradiographic subcellular localization of arrhythmogenic myocardial phospholipids, the authors evaluated tissue processing procedures for preservation of saturated phosphatidyl choline (PC). Suspensions of a murine plasmacytoma were incubated with negative, unilamellar liposomes containing 14C-choline-labeled PC or 14C-1-palmitate dipalmitoyl PC. Extraction of radioactivity was monitored at each processing step by liquid scintillation spectrometry. Conventional fixation with glutaraldehyde and osmium tetroxide followed by acetone dehydration and Spurr's plastic embedding led to extraction of nearly all radioactivity. However, treatment of cells with 1.5% tannic acid after glutaraldehyde but before osmium tetroxide fixation preserved 93.1 ± .6% of 14C-choline-labeled PC. Virtually identical results were obtained with dipalmitoyl PC. Autoradiography demonstrated no significant translocation of labeled PC from plasmacytoma cells to unlabeled avian erythrocytes, mixed in equal proportions after fixation but before dehydration and embedding.