Ken Hill Ken_Hill at RBGSYD.GOV.AU
Wed Nov 2 08:49:34 CST 1994

     A response to some of your questions

>1. Fields for Herbarium Database.  Where can I get a listing
>of the fields that should be included?  I have heard that one
>was circulated on TAXACOM, but I only just joined the mailing

     The major Australian herbaria have produced a draft standard for a
     data interchange format for herbarium specimen data within Australia,
     but issues such as data structure are universal. The history of this
     standard and a more or less current version are available via web or
     gopher at Australian National Botanic Gardens
     ( or gopher://

>6.  Lane Herbarium Dryer.  What temperature should the dryer be
>set at?  Someone recently told me that bryophyte specimens must
>be air dried if they are to have potential for DNA studies.  Is
>this true of vascular plants too?

     Many proteins are denatured at temperatures of about 50 deg. C. We
     also still have a lot to learn about DNA extraction from herbarium
     specimens. On a completely different track, we (NSW) find that
     cuticular waxes are damaged at similar temperatures, for example,
     destroying glaucous or pruinose coatings. We run our driers at 40 deg
     C, with forced air, and find that perfectly adequate.

     Ken Hill                                internet: ken at
     Senior Botanist                           voice:     +61 2 231 8160
     National Herbarium of NSW                   fax:     +61 2 251 7231
     Royal Botanic Gardens
     Sydney NSW 2000, AUSTRALIA

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