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Autoclaves

Tompsonhill onthe at eastcoast.net
Wed May 8 16:53:37 EST 2002


I've been a microbiologist since 1964, and a  newsgroup lurker since
the IBM 286.
I've posted with a variety of aliases but that is another story.

This thread is one of the best.
The writers conclusion "one has to be utterly insane to work in microbiology,"
is  understatement.

I should have learned that 35 years ago when a hot flask fresh from the autoclave
touched the cold lab bench, with the somewhat predictable result that the
hide was burned off my ankles.

Oh yes.  Safety officers should be kept as far away as the Czar.

lamb wrote:

> Graham Shepherd wrote:
>
> > 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 think it went out of use in Holland at least 25 years ago. The selfmade cotton
> plugs (mind you, there was a machine to do the plugging, but men could do it
> faster and better) were first replaced by a kind of pressed paper cork-like
> stopper, abslutely useless, they kept falling of. Then we had metal caps, and
> when disposable tubes were intriduced the plastic caps came.
>
> > 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....
>
> Yes - most people take the tube in the left hand, pick up the plug with the
> right hand, bring the left hand to the flame - show this to the new tech , tell
> him, her, to do it the same way, and then she, he turns out to be left-handed
> and clumsy like hell ..... fire
>
> > 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....
>
> We have metal bins - but using a cold stain none the less
>
> Pilot flames of bunsenburners. poor alcohol over the table, spread with paer,
> knock the burner over .. whooooosh again.
> Now we have burners with a spark element, triggered by a foot-pedal - now people
> forget to close the gas taps before leaving. Forget about the old rubber rotting
> .......
>
> > 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.
>
> It confirms my conviction that one has to be utterly insane to work in
> microbiology.
>
> Loes




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