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A low-viscosity epoxy resin embedding medium for electron microscopy

Authors
Journal
Journal of Ultrastructure Research
0022-5320
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
26
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0022-5320(69)90033-1
Disciplines
  • Biology

Abstract

A low-viscosity embedding medium based on ERL-4206 is recommended for use in electron microscopy. The composition is: ERL-4206 (vinyl cyclohexene dioxide) 10 g, D.E.R. 736 (diglycidyl ether of polypropylene glycol) 6 g, NSA (nonenyl succinic anhydride) 26 g, and S-1 (dimethylaminoethanol or DMAE) 0.4 g. The medium is easily and rapidly prepared by dispensing the components, in turn by weight, into a single flask. The relatively low viscosity of the medium (60 cP) permits rapid mixing by shaking and swirling. The medium is infiltrated into specimens after the use of any one of several dehydrating fluids, such as ethanol, acetone, dioxan, hexylene glycol, isopropyl alcohol, propylene oxide, and tert.-butyl alcohol. It is compatible with each of these in all proportions. After infiltration the castings are polymerized at 70°C in 8 hours. Longer curing does not adversely affect the physical properties of the castings. Curing time can be reduced by increasing the temperature or the accelerator, S-1, or both; and the hardness of the castings is controlled by changes in the D.E.R. 736 flexibilizer. The medium has a long pot life of several days and infiltrates readily because of its low viscosity. The castings have good trimming and sectioning qualities. The embedding matrix of the sections is very resistant to oxidation by KMnO 4 and Ba(MnO 4) 2, compared with resins containing NADIC methyl anhydride. Sections are tough under the electron beam and may be used without a supporting membrane on the grids. The background plastic in the sections shows no perceptible substructure at magnifications commonly used for biological materials. The medium has been used successfully with a wide range of specimens, including endosperms with a high lipid content, tissues with hard, lignified cell walls, and highly vacuolated parenchymatous tissues of ripe fruits.

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