RE: [Histonet] plants in histology lab

From:"Monfils, Paul"

Never had plants in the lab.  However, years ago I worked in a lab with
rather poor ventilation, and we used to open a couple of windows to let some
fresh air in.  One day while checking the finished slides before they went
out to the pathologists, I noticed a strange object on a few different
slides.  They looked sort of like little starfish, which is what we ended up
calling them.  Some of them were stained with the same dyes that the tissue
was stained with, while some of them appeared to be unstained.  Over the
next few days I noticed additional and more frequent examples of this
contaminant.  To make a long story short, this turned out to be pollen from
some tree outside the lab, which was coming in through the open windows.  It
was settling on the freshly cut slides before they went into the drying
oven, and apparently was also getting onto the slides during coverslipping.
I wiped the bench near the windows with a moist wipe, rinsed it off in a
little water and spun it down.  There were hundreds of these tiny particles
all over the bench.  After that we kept the windows closed, at least in the
springtime!  I don't know if plants in the lab might cause such a problem.
Presumably non-flowering plants wouldn't (then again, ferns do produce
spores!).  But it's something to consider.

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