Cleaning a mortar/pestel

Michael L. Sullivan mlsulliv at
Wed May 10 08:37:00 EST 2000

>I often isolate plant RNA with a mortar and pestle and liquid nitro.  I
>use a different mortar and pestle for each sample and I only do about 10
>samples at a time.  It's not really practical to clean them out in between
>samples.  After I'm done, I scrub out the mortars with a scrub brush and
>SDS soap solution.  Then I dry with ethanol and bake for 2 hours at 180
>(that's for RNAse destruction - not really necessary for DNA work

Not really necessary for RNA work either!  I think you'd be better off not
baking.  I think baking only serves to make the mortars break faster.  If
you think about it, this step is not needed.  By grinding your plant
material in the mortar and pestal, you will be releasing far more RNase
activity than you get rid of by baking the mortar!  And that's why the
first wet step in most RNA preps is to put the tissue into a buffer with
GTC or some other strong denaturant.


Michael L. Sullivan, Ph.D

U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center
1925 Linden Drive West
Madison WI, 53706

(608) 264-5144 Phone

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