Graham Shepherd muhero.nospam at globalnet.co.uk
Wed May 8 15:05:31 EST 2002

JEDilworth <bactitech at nospamhortonsbay.com> wrote in message
news:3CD8890A.D7D70BD8 at nospamhortonsbay.com...
> Is a cotton wool bung the stuff they used to use 35 years ago to stopper
> tubed media? I haven't ever used those in a work situation - last time
> was in college in 1970. Was this recent?
> I need other examples :-)
> Judy Dilworth, M.T. (ASCP)
> Microbiology

Last time I worked in  hospital lab they were still in common use - this was
a medical school/hospital lab that made most of its media from powder -
nutrient broth, tryptone soya broth, sugars, urea broth - all in tubes,
mostly with cotton wool (including some pretty coloured ones). That was 15
years ago in the UK. I can't imagine that it's changed that much - there
isn't the money for all this robotic stuff (cf the salaries thread). I read
somewhere that it used to be a recommended technique to flame the mouth of
the tube with the bung still in, which must have led to lots of little
fires...it would have been a pretty old book....

Another example - doing ZN stains - our lab used a torch made of cotton wool
with a twisted wire handle, dipped in methanol. Once you finished heating
the slides, you extinguish the torch and put it in the rubbish bin. Only we
didn't have bins, we had paper bags that fit into metal frames that slide
out from under the bench.  And if your torch isn't quite out when it goes in
the bag....

Two of the things I retain from my years in the lab - fireproof fingers and
the deep understanding that hot glassware looks EXACTLY like cold glassware.


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