[Histonet] Softening enrobed tissues`

From:Geoff Cook

  I am having problems sectioning samples of decalcified coral tissue (10% EDTA at neutral pH) that have been enrobed in 2% agarose.  It appears that the enrobing media may be dehydrated.  Consequently, the agarose seems to be "pulling away" from the paraffin in which the samples are embedded leaving visible holes and/or gaps.  In addition, the consistency of the agarose appears to be a bit more brittle than the paraffin.  Needless to say, sectioning these samples (5 um thickness) has been tricky. 
  Can anyone offer a suggestion as to how this problem might be overcome?  Is there a method/trick for softening the agarose while it is embedded in the parafin blocks?
  Many thanks in advance for your time.

Geoffrey M. Cook
Department of Environmental Science and Policy
George Mason University
4400 University Dr., MSN 5F2
Fairfax, Virginia 22030-4444
(office) 703.993.8917
(lab) 703.993.1219
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