RE: [Histonet] Re: Bouins alternative/substitute question

From:Gayle Callis


Interesting that you said this, and also a story from our university 
chemical safety handling of dry picric acid found in an old 
laboratory.  They had a hard time getting it to explode also.

Chemical safety removed a jar of picric acid,  dry and age 
undetermined.  Knowing it was explosive, the fellow in charge took it out 
to a very remote area and shot at the jar with a rifle, and it took a lot 
of rifle bullets to get it to blow up.  He did have a good session of 
target practice for deer hunting season being in the Wild Wild West of 

The potential is there for explosion, and we still have picric acid on our 
shelves, although stored under a generous layer of distilled water.  When 
we need to make up Bouins, we just scoop it out and make sure we have a 
saturated solution of picric acid.

Care must be taken to keep dry crystals off lids, these are actually sealed 
by dipping into hot paraffin, and check regularly for any leakage around 
lid.  I don't think it would be a good thing to have in a laboratory fire, 
but solvents are just as bad.  How many people still store isopentane in a 
non explosion proof freezer - now that IS an explosive situation.

  We remain cautious but not in panic state.  Bouins is still very 
important as a fixative and mordant for Massons trichrome, we will continue 
to use it, dispose of it correctly and not put metal cassettes into it.  We 
often purchase it ready made from Sigma to avoid having to handle it.

At 09:27 AM 5/22/2006, you wrote:
>I think it is because picric acid explodes when dry but I've tried, and
>tried, and tried and it has never exploded.
>Has anyone ever succeeded?
>Kemlo Rogerson
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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
406 994-4303 (FAX)

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