wood maceration

Jim Perry jperry at UWC.EDU
Sun Mar 1 10:28:19 EST 1998

>Dear Colleagues,
>Does anyone know the procedure for producing macerated wood?  I recall as
>an undergraduate that in plant anatomy we heated slivers of wood in an
>acid, and after some time had passed (hours? days?)  the xylem tissue could
>be easily broken up for viewing vessel elements, etc.  If anyone remembers
>how to do this I'd appreciate the protocol.
>Kathleen Archer

Cut material into thin slivers.
Remove any air from tissue by boiling it in water or aspirating it.
Place tissue slivers in vials with macerating fluid.
Clamp cork in vials.
Treat tisse for 1-2 dyas in an electric oven at 30-40 degrees C for woody
tissue, at room temp for herbaceous materials.
Cool vials to room temp.
Crush tissue with a glass rod or by shaking with glass beads.
If tissue does not break apart easily, replace macerating fluid with fresh
fluid and return to oven for another day or two.

Wash macerated material with water. I centrifuge the material between
washes to speed the process.
Preserve in 70% ETOH.

Tissue can be stained with 1% aqueous saffranin.

MACERATING FLUID (Jeffrey's Method) - prepare in fume hood
Nitric acid (10%)
Chromic acid (10%)

When needed mix equal volumes of the two acids.

This question reminds me to make a  suggestion and a comment.

Comment: Commercially prepared lab manuals have instructor's manuals that
typically provide this sort of information.

Suggestion: We seem to get a fair number of "How do I..." questions. There
is a good resource, "A Sourcebook for the Biological Sciences"  (Morholt,
E. and P.F. Brandwein, 1986, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, ISBN
0-15-582-852-5) that lists recipes for this and much much more. It's a good
investment. It might be in your library. Maybe every major prof who sends a
new graduate student off to their first academic job should provide this as
a gift!

James W. Perry
CEO/Campus Dean
Professor - Biological Sciences
University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley
1478 Midway Road
Menasha, Wisconsin  54952-8002
FAX 920.832-2674
jperry at uwc.edu

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