Botanical Spirit Collection

Thu Aug 24 15:15:58 CDT 1995

In regard to the  wet / spirit  preserved botanical material question,
here at the Smithsonian, the Algal group has been raising similar
concerns about  chemicals  of choice for preserving fresh / marine
algal specimens.  We are currently under  SI Safety Office
constraints in regard to EtOH storage of specimens.

Our current procedures entail the initial preservation of specimens
in 5% formalin in (sea / fresh) water, buffered with borax.  A dry
herbarium sheet is prepared from this material, and an appropriate
portion then transferred to 70% EtOH (with the exception of
Corallines which are left in 5% formalin) for long term storage.

Due to the concerns of the Safety Office, we have been
experimenting with the use of Carolina Biological Supply s Caro-
Safe (Ethylene Glycol) as an alternative to use of formalin and/or
EtOH preservation and storage.  The material does seem to
preserve well, and appears to be in good condition.  However, we
do not, yet have any information concerning staining, or other
characteristics that might prove to be a problem for researchers in
the future.  Carolina Biological has been using the preservative for
some time with no apparent problems.

We would be very interested in any comments or information that
others might have gathered.  We likewise had considered writing
other herbaria in order to compile other researchers methods of wet

ROBERT H. SIMS,   DEPT. BOTANY      PHONE    (202) 357-2562
SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, NHB-166    FAX      (202) 786-2563
ÿÿ    Botanical Spirit Collection                                              `

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