Re: Preservative

From:"J. A. Kiernan"

> Carol Thouron wrote:
> I have been asked to recommend a non formalin/phenol fluid for
> the preservation of  a giraffe heart.  It has been fixed in
> formalin but cannot be stored in any type of fixative ...
> ... (safety regulations of the institute).

Crazy! However, more than 100 years before the 
introduction of formaldehyde anatomists like the
Hunter brothers were storing their museum specimens
in "spirits of wine," which I suppose was cheap
brandy - probably 40-50% ethanol, or maybe stronger
back in those days. In our department we store
formaldehyde-fixed human brains, for teaching,
in 30% alcohol.

So your giraffe's heart, having already had the
benefit of formaldehyde fixation should be OK
for posterity in a water-alcohol mixture. Just
be careful to prevent evaporation, and if the
safety officer drinks too much of it (testing 
it for safety), top it up afterwards.

John A. Kiernan
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
The University of Western Ontario
London,   Canada   N6A 5C1

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