A special lot of DEPC

Errol E.S.Kwan at massey.ac.nz
Tue Apr 4 17:32:59 EST 2000

>Thats part of the problem: If I open the bottle (under the hood), it
>degases and I get the "fruity smell". Quite strong, you cant miss it. It
>smells not bad, just strangely "fruity", and we never had that with our
>earlier Lots of DEPC from the same firm.
>They quickly sent a new one after complaint, stated that it should have
>been stored at 4°C  and send the MSDS with it.
>The problem is that the new batch (different Lot No.) shows the same
>Degasing at opening, "fruity smell", forming bubbles at insetion of a pipet
>tip, bubbleing after pipeting in Water.

Isn't the bubbling normal?  I thought that the contact with the
pipette tip catalysed the degradation of the DEPC to form ethanol and
CO2.  Could the fruity smell be from the gas that they package into
the bottle, they replace the air inside with another gas to prevent it
from breaking down.

>I never had the feeling that DEPC is one of the greter hazards in a Lab.
>Polyacrylamide, Ethidium bromide, PMSF or Phenole seemed to be far greater
>threads to our health.

Well the packaging with the DEPC says toxic so shouldn't you treat it
as such?  This relaxed attitude towards toxic compounds is quite
concerning.  From what I understand, smelling DEPC can result in death
as it reacts in your lungs and will destroy the cells, I've used it to
open up Giardia cysts, and lung cells would be less robust.  I haven't
come across PMSF, but ethidium bromide and phenol are also dangerous
and have their own requirements for safe usage as do all dangerous
chemicals.  It was just hearing people say they're smelling DEPC that
shocked me, when the warnings say no contact with skin, no inhalation

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