Unduly long (Re: Mounting medium jars)

From:"J. A. Kiernan"

I've never owned a balsam bottle of my own, but have used
them, and never liked them.  It was easier and less
messy to make blunt-ended glass rods and dip them 
into the bottle of mountant. When not in use, the
glass rod rested in the last (pre-coverslip) tank of
xylene. This was good because (a) the end of the rod
was always clean - didn't get bigger with accumulated
goo, and (b) the small amount of mountant dissolved in
the last tank of xylene increased its sensitivity to
carried-over alcohol, indicated by opalescence. Then 
and now, you don't mount from cloudy xylene.

Since abandoning glass rods (see below), I've probably
seen more slides with obvious contamination of the mountant
with alcohol. There always were plenty of these because
students didn't look critically at their slides until they
needed high quality photos to put in their theses. 
Nevertheless, I have a feeling in my urine that the
future of manual coverslipping is not with either the 
lab-forged glass rod or the commercial balsam bottle,
but with the squeeze-controlled medium dispenser.

My advice is therefore:
If you can't find just a few balsam bottles,
consider buying a mountant that comes in a
plastic bottle that you invert and squeeze.

I discovered these a few years ago, and since
then I've hardly touched a glass rod. The medium
I use is called Cytoseal; it's in the Fisher
Scientific catalogue, and the label indicates
that the main ingredient is poly(methylmethacrylate).
It doesn't behave quite as nicely as Entellan, a 
much more expensive poly(methylmethacrylate) 
mountant that needs glass rodding, but it's OK. 

Unless you make your own DPX it's necessary to live 
with some trade secrecy with synthetic resinous 
mounting media. Probably there are mountants other
than Cytoseal that come pre-packaged in ready-to-use 
modular combined storage and application units.

Even 10-thumbed new graduate students (who call it 
glue) quickly learn to apply the right amount of 
mountant from a squeezy bottle without getting it 
all over the place and sticking slides permanently 
onto benches and hotplates. (The name glue came from 
this unwanted action of mounting medium that dripped 
unseen from the ends of the glass rods.)

This doesn't answer your question, but it might help.
John A. Kiernan
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
The University of Western Ontario
London,   Canada   N6A 5C1
jill cox wrote:
>   Hello everyone,
>       I have been looking for the mounting medium jars
> for coverslipping and cant find anything except one
> brand where you have to order a case at a time. They
> are too expensive that way. Does anyone know where I
> can get 2 to 3 of them? Thanks in advance
> =====
> Jill Cox HT (ASCP)
> Seattle Histology Lab

Is there only one histology lab in Seattle?

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