RE: [Histonet] Contaminated Alcohols from VIP processors
I have noticed the same thing, and I don't think the cloudiness is due to
xylene. I believe it is due to water-insoluble substances, particularly
lipids, which have leached out of the tissue samples into the stronger
alcohols. Because these substances are water-insoluble they don't tend to
dissolve in the formalin or the weaker alcohols where a lot of water is
present, but they do dissolve somewhat in the stronger alcohols. Also,
because they are water-insoluble, they precipitate (become cloudy) when
water is added to the alcohol, as in flushing down the drain.
Because I'm in a service research lab, I often run one kind of tissue per
processing run, and sometimes only one kind of tissue for several days. I
have noticed that the degree of cloudiness relates not only to the number of
specimens I have run since the last solvent change, but also very much to
the kind of tissues that were processed. I can run kidney or lung or
muscle specimens all week and there is minimal cloudiness when I discard the
alcohols. But if I process a large number of skin or breast or colon or
other fatty samples, the alcohol turns milky white when it hits the water.
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org on behalf of
> Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2006 12:58 PM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: [Histonet] Contaminated Alcohols from VIP processors
> Hello all -
> Has anyone had experience with contaminated alcohols coming off a
> Tissue-Tek VIP processor?
> We have two processors - one is a Miles VIP 3000, purchased in 1993, the
> other is a Sakura VIP E300 purchased in 1996.
> We have started experiencing the problem on both machines.
> Our processing schedule utilizes 2 stations each of formalin, 80% ETOH,
> recycled 95% ETOH, absolute ETOH (pure, not reagent grade), xylene, 3 or 4
> paraffin stations, 1 cleaning xylene, 1 cleaning absolute ETOH.
> The formalins and 80% are not contaminated, however the 95% and absolutes
> show cloudiness when flushed with water down the drain. (We are assuming
> that it's xylene causing this, but have not done analysis to confirm.)
> Preventative maintenance was just done last week on both machines (by our
> in-house biomed personnel) and we still have the cloudiness in the 95% and
> absolute alcohols.
> We have ruled out any problems with our recycler and know that the
> are clean when they are put on the processor.
> Any comments would be greatly appreciated!
> Barb Moe
> Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center
> La Crosse WI
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