Ethylene Glycol as a Preservative for Marine Organisms


MARINE plants and animals required for identification or anatomical studies are usually preserved in a 70 per cent aqueous solution of ethyl alcohol or in a 2–4 per cent solution of formaldehyde (5–10 per cent formalin). The great disadvantages of ethyl alcohol are that it volatilizes very readily, it tends to produce precipitates from sea-water, and it causes shrinkage of many species. Although formalin evaporates less rapidly than ethyl alcohol, precautions to prevent desiccation are still necessary; it has the further disadvantage that it tends to oxidize to formic acid, which may dissolve calcareous structures, and it has a very strong smell.

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WILLIAMSON, D., RUSSELL, G. Ethylene Glycol as a Preservative for Marine Organisms. Nature 206, 1370–1371 (1965).

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