substitutes for formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde

Russ Bulluck lrbulluc at unity.ncsu.edu
Wed Jun 16 09:13:45 EST 1999

Are you looking for a fixative or a preservative?  What type of microbial
cells? Lugols solution works well for algal cells, and is a fixative.  A
solution of 4.5% propylene glycol, 0.5% propylene phenoxitol, and 95%
deionized water (PPG) is a good preservative (especially for calcarious
zooplankton).  It's not a good fixative though

There are a number of things that could be used, but formaldehyde and
glutaraldehyde give a good quick kill at relatively low concentrations,
without causing too much distortion of cells.  Be careful with formalin
(and glut as well). They have a low vapor pressure, and are pretty
reactive when inhaled. Hope this helps. . . Russ

fuller at envirogen.com wrote:

> Does anyone know of a good substitute for substitutes for formaldehyde
> and glutaraldehyde.  Looking to preserve microbial cells in aqueous
> samples, without getting cell autofluorescence (which glut sometimes
> causes).  Formaldehyde seems to cause reduced direct counts of our
> cells.
> Any leads much appreciated.
> -Mark Fuller
> fuller at envirogen.com

Russ Bulluck
Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Plant Pathology
North Carolina State University
PO Box 7616
Raleigh, NC  27695-7616


The soil population is so complex that it manifestly cannot
be dealt with as a whole with any detail by any one person,
and at the same time it plays so important a part in the soil
economy that it must be studied.
--Sir E. John Russell
The Micro-organisms of the Soil, 1923

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