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Microwave sterilization (the insect angle!!)

Zophonias O. Jonsson zjons at vetbio.unizh.ch
Tue Dec 17 09:15:55 EST 1996

In article <594g1m$8ps5 at ncisun1-nf0.ncifcrf.gov>, pnh at ncifcrf.gov (Paul N
Hengen) wrote:

>> Last week we had an insect (Ear creeper roughly translated from german)..
>> at home in the microwave (one with a rotating dish). This insect was running
>> along the outer wall of the ofen. All times in the direction of the rotating
>> dish! 3x 5 minutes doesn't hurt it. It escaped next day ;-))

> Hmmm. I wonder what the microwaves would do to an inner-city cockroach from 
> the US. Maybe the roach would like the microwaves or mutate or something? 
> Anyway, Ithink eventually with the exposure to microwaves it would dry up and 
> die. If nothing else that kind of experiment could be used to create a new 
> munchie that we could call "roach crispy snacks" :-o

There was a long thread about this on either this newsgroup or
molbio.proteins a while ago.  The final conclusion was that insects can
indeed survive inside microwave ovens if they stick to the bottom or
walls.  If elevated they will start boiling.  The most plausible
explanation was that interference cancels out the microwaves close to the
walls of the oven.  So if your inner-city cocroach is large enough it
probably won't be to happy in the microwave.

Now isn't this a brilliant example of the sort of useful information one
can obtain by reading the molbio newsgroups?  I just hope that no
extremist animal rights activists are reading .... !!


Zophonias O. Jonsson
Institut fur Veterinarbiochemie               Tel: (41-1)-257-54-75
Universitat Zurich-Irchel                     Fax: (41-1)-362-05-01
Winterthurerstrasse 190
CH-8057 Zurich

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