A special lot of DEPC

csc un691cs at genius.embnet.dkfz-heidelberg.de
Thu Mar 30 03:29:14 EST 2000

On 27 Mar 2000, Jan-Henner Wurmbach wrote:

-At our Lab arrived today a very special Lot of DEPC (Dietylpyrocarbonate).
-It had become warm over the Weekend and the bottle was under pressure. At
-opening it gave a "pfft" sound, some of the solution spilled out and a
-specific, slightly Lemon-like stench was smelled.
-We have never had this before with our DEPC and we dont think that it is
-still OK.
-Does someone know what has happned?
-The Bottle was from USB (Amersham), 25ml, brown (light protection)

DEPC reacts with oxygen rapidly, and forms EtOH and CO2. Probably the
bottle was leaking, so air could enter it. DEPC can easily explode, it is
very reactive ! I even read a report a few years back where a bottle
exploded in a fridge, after someone opened the door. DEPC is also a very
strong mutagen, it is used in M&G sequencing to modify the bases and it
can inactivate DNA prior to PCR. Only open the bottle in the hood, behind
glass. If you can smell it, it is a bad sign. I would infomr the company,
they may like to know that their "filling machine" isn't working as it
should be.

Kind regards, 

Clemens Suter-Crazzolara, PhD
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