Re: microwaving slides

From:"J. A. Kiernan"

As described, this reads like a recipe for "how to fry your
microwave oven without even trying."  According to everything
I've read about microwaving (lab and domestic), there must
always be a body of microwave-absorbing material (such as
liquid water) in the oven. Otherwise the radiation is
reflected by the walls and much of it ends up back in the
magnetron, inducing electric currents that can burn out
the wires. Heating drained slides (not much water) until
the slides are thoroughly dried (no liquid water) seems
risky. In the absence of water, dipole molecules in tissue 
can absorb microwaves, but the sections on several slides
hardly amount to a significant body of microwave-absorbing

Two minutes at full power crispifies two rashers of
bacon (?=30g tissue; unpublished morning observations,
repeated at least 1000 times but never syetematically
recorded and sent to a peer reviewed journal).

Microwave experts send in Histonet replies occasionally.
Perhaps some of them will say I've got it all wrong. I'm
writing from memory of sources such as Boon's "Cookbook," 
some of Gary Logins writings, and review articles in 
Proceedings of the Roy. Microsc. Soc. I hope this reply 
provokes criticism and discussion, backed with
literature references that we can look up and evaluate.

         John Kiernan
John A. Kiernan
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
The University of Western Ontario
London,   Canada   N6A 5C1
_________________________________________________________________ wrote:
> Greetings to all,
> I recently experimented microwaving slides prior to
> deparaffinization and staining.  I have searched the histonet
> archives to get a feel for what others think of doing this and
> if any problems were encountered during the process.  It seemed
> only one person was strongly against microwaving slides.
> I want to cover my bases, so to speak, because I can see how
> this thing is taking off in our lab.  A few trial runs and
> people have quickly caught on to this as an option to expedite
> morning stains and trailing slides needing to make a hospital
> pickup.  I currently microwave anywhere between 1 to 10 slides
> at one time for 2 minutes at high power.  Has anyone noticed
> any difference between slides dried in this manner and slides
> dried by conventional oven?  It also my understanding that the
> paraffin doesn't melt but the heated water on the slide that
> melts that wax.  As long as the tissue stays on the slide and
> is deparaffinized completely through xylene, alcohols and
> this okay and accurate thinking?  One last nagging
> question:  Did those of you who started your own process of
> microwaving slides show the slides to doctors to ensure
> staining is still good even after microwaving?
> Deb King, HT
> Sacramento, CA
> Email:

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