A blog of the Freer Family's adventures and misadventures emigrating to Flinders Island, Tasmania, Australia, and settling there.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Did you know formalin damages DNA? The useful stuff you learn on this site! Barbs went to try and scrounge 2 millitres of 97% alcohol from the hospital today to preserve some ant specimens for my entomologist friend back in SA. Alas - semi-undertandably - they can't do that. But they did let us have a few drops of formalin. Which we can't use because it does the DNA in. Ah well. Some idiot would probably try and drink the 97% (even though it is full of methanols.) Anyway got to get the word count up, as I am skiving tomorrow - we got an invitation to go salmon fishing with one of the locals, and as Australian salmon are likely to be one of our major food sources, and my only attempt at catching them ended in a fat zero and being broken up, I'm keen to learn.
Labels: ants, Australian Salmon, Formalin
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What's the strongest vodka strength available? I'm not sure how strong you need the alcohol percentage to be to preserve things but I'd think that pretty much anything over 50% would probably cut it for a shortish time. And bonus - you can drink whatever you don't use as packaging.ReplyDelete
Would methylated spirits do the job? You should be able to get that from any supermarket or hardware store.ReplyDelete
Francis - vodka will do as a preservative - but not as dehydrating agent. You put the ants into the stuff, allow it penetrate and take them out and evaporate the alcohol - preserved antReplyDelete
Emma - as soon as Pete wakes up I will ask him. There may be a reason. I don't hink it approaches 97%, but I can always freeze-distill it a bit. Um. maybe not. I'd need liquid nitrogen ;-)ReplyDelete
Try Everclear. I've never *drunk* the stuff, but actually know people who have used it for swimmers ear (whatever it is that 'grows' in some peoples' ears after swimming?). I think it's higher proof than vodka.ReplyDelete
Online sources say its 190 proof / 95%.
If you can freeze-distill, can you freeze-dry? I remember an article that talked about using freeze-drying to collect and preserve soft-bodied insects. Just freeze, then lower the air pressure and wait for the water to sublime (as I recollect). Not sure whether your friend would appreciate freeze-dried ants or not...ReplyDelete
Hi Dave, Dad preserves and dries out his beach worms using metho. I can ask him what he does. They last quite a while.ReplyDelete