Long term storage solution – glycol

Hi, it’s Robert Clendon, Conservator at Te Papa.

After all the sewing up, we need to prepare the Squid for long term display.

This involves draining the water that it’s sitting in at the moment. This will remove any residual formalin that is not bound up into the animal. That is fixed in with its tissues.

We’ll then slowly start to pump in the long term storage solution which is a mixture of 20% monopropylene glycol, 80% water and a biocide. The biocide we’ll use is a glycol ether which will stop bacteria, moulds or fungi growing. Calcium carbonate will also be added to maintain the correct pH range. Samples will be taken about once a week to check on the pH and if there is any biological activity within the tank, we would put in more biocide.

The display tank has been designed so that if it is needed, we can attach a low velocity pump fitted with a filter. This is so we can remove any cloudiness in the solution and will help to keep it clear.

We can also drain the entire contents of the tank if necessary and completely replace the solution.

 Ethyline glycol © Copyright Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2008

Propylene glycol - 3255 - © Copyright Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2008

4 Responses

  1. lee

    Oh, leave poor Steve alone LOL. He did a fabulous job of sewing up the squid. It was, a lot harder than it looked. also, Steve being taller (it looked like he was) he was more bent over almost double. That in itself is a hard position to maintain expecially for the long duration he was in this position. (I would have used super glue, which is why Im not a biologist or preserver) This was demonstrated clearly by the lady who was going to show Steve cross stitch and ended up doing a ‘superficial sewing job’ whereas Steves sewing went right through everything – yes I watched it with the sound turned on. And I do agree Ellie did a fabulous job stitching as well. And top marks for effort to the lady who did the cross stitch.

  2. Sharon

    Thought that might be the case. Young Ellie is doing a fabulous job of stitching. Steve, on the other hand,……

  3. tepapamuseum

    No a monofilament line is too agressive on the flesh and would end up cutting it. A monofilament line could also denature over time – that is, it could disintegrate over time.

  4. Sharon

    Would a thin monofilament line have worked? It wouldn’t have been nearly as visible, but would it have been more likely to tear the flesh?


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