RE: [Histonet] Neutralisation of 10% formalin using ammonia

From:"Tony Henwood"

Following this discussion, I have some queries.
I believe that Hexamethylenetetramine is a fertiliser and together with the phosphate salts used in most NBF solutions would produce a rich solution to be tipping down the sink.
Would this neutralised solution result in over-load of most sewage treatment plants resulting in unwanted blue-green algae blooms?


Tony Henwood JP, MSc, BAppSc, GradDipSysAnalys, CT(ASC)
Laboratory Manager & Senior Scientist
The Children's Hospital at Westmead,
Locked Bag 4001, Westmead, 2145, AUSTRALIA.
Tel: 612 9845 3306
Fax: 612 9845 3318

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Rene J Buesa
Sent: Thursday, 8 June 2006 2:39 AM
To: Anne Van Binsbergen; Mike Kirby; Histonet (E-mail)
Subject: RE: [Histonet] Neutralisation of 10% formalin using ammonia

  We are in the "same boat"; I also used Neutralex, but my answer was regarding as to how to make sure formalin was neutralized and even using Neutralex I tested always before discarfding it. I agree Sakura is the bast!!
  Hope you are well.
  René J.

Anne Van Binsbergen  wrote:
  hey Mike and Rene!
'camel queens' use Neutralex by Sakura - its the best!!!
hope you are both well - in your respective corners of the Histonet!!


From: on behalf of Rene J Buesa
Sent: Wed 2006/06/07 06:39 PM
To: Mike Kirby; Histonet (E-mail)
Subject: Re: [Histonet] Neutralisation of 10% formalin using ammonia

Mr. M:
Schiff's reagent is perhaps the best, most sensitive and available reagent in any lab to test for the presence of aldehydes. If you "neutralized" formalin turns purplish with the addition of Schiff's reagent, it is not totally neutralized. That was my reagent of choice when I tested different formalin neutralizing products. Sakura provides a kit containing Schiff's reagent to test their neutralizing product. René J.

Mike Kirby wrote:

Dear Histonetters.

The method of neutralising 10% formalin using concentrated ammonia solution has been well documented, and no doubt used by many Labs to dispose of their formalin waste.

My first question is, how does one verify that all the formalin has been neutralised?

One reference states that when the pH changes from 6 to 8, then sufficient ammonia has been added, and by implication, all the formalin should have been neutralised.

My second question is, would Schiffs Reagent be of any use as a double check in this methodology, because as we all know, it turns pink, even at very low concentrations of formalin, or would the final product, Hexamethylenetetramine, also react with Schiffs? Has anyone pursued this avenue?

South Africa.

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