snake bones

From:Gayle Callis <>

The action of the acid on calcium phosphate, plus the calcium carbonate in
the bones, causes Ca to be released along with carbon dioxide, CO2.  This
happens with all bones, you will see bubbles sitting on surface of bone,
and they can actually float. Stirring during procedure minimizes bubbles,
but one needs to use a more open container, or a very loosely capped one.  

Never fear, she bascially did the "bubble test" for endpoint, inaccurate!
and if she sealed the container with a lid, the gas had to do something, go
somewhere and probably caused a sealed ??? container to blow it up like a
ballon!!  Lucky it didn't burst.

She should suspend snake bones, or whole snake??? in an open container of
acid decalcifier, one can cover the top with saran wrap to minimize fumes,
but allow gas to escape. For safety's sake, do decalcification inside a
chemical fume hood. This CO2 formation will happen with formic and/or
hydrochloric acid decalcifiers, plus others. 

Gayle Callis
Histopathology Supervisor
Veterinary Molecular Biology
Montana State University - Bozeman
Bozeman MT 59717-3610

406 994-6367
404 994-4303 (FAX)

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