Getting trichocysts to fire in ciliates

James Mahaffy mahaffy at
Tue Feb 20 10:44:46 EST 1996


	I tried this post for several days on bionet.protista without a
response, so maybe there is no better method of getting them to fire. 
But perhaps we have a few more generalists teaching zoology on this newsgroup
that have figured out how to make trichocysts fire. A ny suggestions are

     Anyone have a pretty sure fire way to get trichocysts to
fire on demand from 
ciliates?  I have a lab, I teach in Zoology where we use
Paramecium and some other ciliates (wild varieties I have
gathered).  The methods suggested by the lab manual just do not
work that reliably. They suggest both fountain pen ink and acetic
acid.  Acetic acid seems to work better but neither works that
often. I add solution to the side of the coverslip and then draw
it under using a bit of paper toweling on the other side.  The
problem is either it doesn't do anything or the duds croak with
out obviously firing.  I realize it may be a concentration
problem but I would like to have something that can be drawn
under the coverslip so the students can see it.  When it happens
it is dramatic.  Any suggestions?

James F. Mahaffy                   e-mail: mahaffy at
Biology Department                 phone: 712 722-6279
Dordt College                      FAX 712 722-1198
Sioux Center, Iowa 51250

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