Tissue Processors

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From:Barbara Stancel <bstancel@hotmail.com>
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Several years ago, we also demo'ed many tissue processors. We also recycle 
all of our xylene and all of our uncontaminated ethanols. Our main concern 
with a new processor was the amount of contamination coming from the rotary 
valve, connecting joints, and tubing.  Our old processor, a 1988 Fisher MVP, 
was experiencing extreme ethanol contamination with xylene and some times 
formalin.  This gave us real headaches with our recycled alcohol. For a 
while we thought one of us was accidentally pouring the alcohol from after 
the deparaffinizing xylenes into the alcohol for recycling. Since recycling 
cannot remove small amounts of xylene from alcohol, our endproduct 
distillation contained xylene.  Over a period of time the xylene in the 
recycled alcohol increased and caused many problems. It even made the 
distillation cycle crazy.  Finally one of our more observant techs wondered 
if the contamination could be coming from the tissue processors....and it 
was!  We began running gas chromatograph (GC) analysis on all of our 
alcohols and confirmed xylene was indeed somehow backflowing into our 
alcohols and into the formalin!

We had to find a tissue processor which did not have the contamination 
process.  We looked at the Shandon Path Center,the PTP1530, Leica, a newer 
MVP, and the Sakura VIP. We tried every unit we could get in to demo for at 
least a week, if not two week. We ran GC analysis on the alcohols and 
formalin after each week of the demo. We also looked at GC results from the 
Fisher Processor and an older VIP being used at sister laboratories.  Our 
results were surprising! We found all but the new Sakura VIP to have xylene 
contamination in almost all the alcohols.  Some processors were worse than 
others. Of course all the companies said there was no way for there to be 
contamination--but our GC results told us the whole story.

Needless to say Sakura was happy.  We ordered a VIP E300 in late 1996 and a 
second one in 1997.  We have not had trouble with either unit other than a 
few "technical errors."  I would like to comment on their repair service, 
but we really haven't used it. We have kept a maintenance contract for 
yearly preventative maintenance.

These are the experiences of only one lab.
Please call if you have any specific questions-706-566-3556.

Good luck with your decision!

Barbara Stancel
Pathology Section
USDA, FSIS, Eastern Lab
Athens, Georgia
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