caveat on heated waterbaths with GMA embedded tissue

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From:Gayle Callis <>
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I am seeing some interesting things on working with GMA, and one word of
warning, folks!  If you use heated water to flatten GMA, you will be
breathing some NASTY fumes, particularly the n, n dimethylaniline, not a
good thing.
True, the heat softens the plastic, but it also releases that stuff you
should not breathe or get on your skin, highly carcinogenic.  

You should be able to flatten a GMA section on a RT waterbath, even a thin
one, you could also try a bit higher humidity as section comes off, to
reduce the static, or use the 45 caliber red pistol static eliminator, and
deionize that block face, CD music stores sell these, also can get from
Aldrich. It also helps to use some type of magnifier when sectioning, you
have a bit more control of what you grab, see, etc.   

It takes some practice to move the section onto the waterbath, we just made
sure it flattened to the knife surface a tidge, then picked it up with a
fine EM forceps and "Flipped" onto the water surface.  

Another word of warning, wear protective eyewear with GMA sectioning, heard
of a tech who had a section fly into her eye, a dangerous situation.

Good luck, stay safe and healthy, live long!

Gayle Callis
Veterinary Molecular Biology
Montana State University
Bozeman MT 59717-3610
406 994-4705
406 994-4303

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