isopentane aka 2 methyl butane storage RE: [Histonet] freezing of specimens in surgery center

From:Gayle Callis

Dear Jean,

Not an ignorant question, and that is exactly what we do, RT storage 
isopentane and hexane.  The room is well ventilated, and the 1 liter bottle 
size is all we have around at any one time is placed inside a plastic 
container to cushion the bottle from bumping into another bottle or hard 

No one here is about to invest in an explosion proof freezer, refrigerator, 
or expensive freezing devices (although that would be nice!) and storage in 
a regular freezer/refrigerator is out of the question.   Amazing, and with 
pure blind luck, I stored isopentane for years in a regular 
refrigerator/freezer without blowing up the lab.  I would not take that 
chance now.

What we are trying to do is eliminate isopentane completely as a snap 
freezing method and going to a petri dish floating in Liquid nitrogen (with 
dish supported by a metal block or rack).  Ventilation is still important, 
snap freezing is excellent, without freezing artifact and we can do many 
blocks at a dissection session.  This is a cheap, easy setup as long as one 
has liquid nitrogen in the lab - we always have it around - fortunately.

At 08:34 AM 5/25/2005, you wrote:
>"Storage: Keep away from sources of ignition. Keep container closed when
>not in use. Store in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from
>incompatible substances. Refrigeration has been recommended."
>The above is directly from a well known company's current MSDS on
>storage of isopentane.  And I know sorting through MSDS's attempting to
>get a straight answer on on chemical health issues, shelf life, storage
>can be extremely frustrating.
>It may be an ignorant question to ask but; Is it not possibly safer to
>store isopentane (2-Methylbutane) at room temperature vs refrigeration?
>Jean Mitchell, BS, HT (ASCP)
>University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics
>Neuromuscular Laboratory
>Madison, WI
>-----Original Message-----
>[] On Behalf Of
>Elizabeth Chlipala
>Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 11:59 AM
>Subject: [Histonet] freezing of specimens in surgery center
>Hello Histonetters
>I have a unique question.  We are currently starting to set up procedure
>for collecting samples from a clinical trial.  The clinical trial
>involves taking multiple synovial biopsies at a surgery center.  Since
>portions of the samples need to be processed for frozen sections we
>wanted to be able to freeze the specimens at the surgery center via
>isopentane cooled liquid nitrogen.  We really do not want to have to
>transport the multiple specimens back to the main lab prior to freezing
>due to the time involved it would probably be 1-2 hours post biopsy
>before we could freeze the samples.  The surgery center is questioning
>the flammability of the isopentane.  Has anyone encountered anything
>like this?  Any suggestions would be helpful.  Thanks in advance.
>Elizabeth A. Chlipala, BS, HTL(ASCP)QIHC Manager Premier Laboratory, LLC
>P.O. Box 18592 Boulder, Colorado 80308
>Office: (303) 735-5001
>Fax: (303) 735-3540
>Ship to Address:
>Premier Laboratory
>University of Colorado
>MCDB, Room A3B40
>Boulder, Colorado 80309
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Gayle Callis
Research Histopathology Supervisor
Veterinary Molecular Biology
Montana State University - Bozeman
PO Box 173610
Bozeman MT 59717-3610
406 994-6367 (lab with voice mail)
406 994-4303 (FAX)

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