Equipment and Laboratory Supplies

The following list consists of equipment and laboratory supplies that may be useful in Palynology Labs. Information supplied here is intended only for guidance. Readers are advised to contact the suppliers directly for authoritative and up-to-date prices, specifications and availability. Please note that inclusion of equipment or supplies in this list does not constitute an endorsement on the part of CAP, its executive, or members. CAP, its executive, and members assume no liability for any accident or damage caused in any way by using or misusing items included in this listing.

  • England Finder
  • First Aid for HF burns
  • Lycopodium tablets
  • Nitex® gauze

England Finder

Have you ever taken a pollen slide to a colleague’s lab., only to have trouble finding that “mystery grain” again because their microscope stage co-ordinates are different to yours? This device helps avoid those problems, allowing the same point to be relocated on any microscope.

An England Finder consists of a glass slide marked with a co-ordinate reference system. Once an object of interest is found on a pollen slide, it is brought beneath the cross-hairs. The England Finder is placed on the stage and the co-ordinates for the centre of the field of view are read off. Then, when the pollen slide is taken to another microscope, the England Finder is used to set the recorded co-ordinates. When the pollen slide is placed on the stage, the item of interest should be re-located beneath the cross-hairs.

These items were formerly supplied by Graticules Ltd., which no longer exists. These products are now supplied by Pyser SGI Limited. Further details may be obtained at http://www.pyser-sgi.com/

This company also supplies a variety of other stage graticules, eyepiece micrometers, etc.

Note: This article original appeared in CAP Newsletter 18(1):29, 1995. The company contact information has been updated as of March 21 2004.


First Aid for HF burns

A recent AASP Newsletter (28(1):14-15, 1995) contained the harrowing account of the death of a laboratory technician in Australia following a hydrofluoric acid (HF) burn. The amount of acid involved was quite small, estimated to be about 100 ml. An extract from the Ontario Geological Survey laboratory safety manual dealing with the emergency treatment of HF burns (see AASP Newsletter 28(1):15, 1995) and a follow-up article (AASP Newsletter 28(2): 13-14, 1995) included the information that burns can be treated effectively with an aqueous solution or a gel preparation of calcium gluconate.

There is a commercially-manufactured product designed for the First-Aid treatment of HF burns. The product is known as “Calcium Gluconate Gel”. It is manufactured by Industrial Pharmaceutical Services Ltd, Altrincham, England, U.K., and is distributed in Canada and the US by Pharmascience Inc. (address below). The gel is supplied in tubes of 25 g. Prices, as of March 1995, are $27.55/tube or $165.30 for a 6-tube pack. According to information from Pharmascience, at normal room temperature, the gel has a recommended shelf-life of not more than five years.

Note that this is a First-Aid treatment only and is not a substitute for proper medical attention. All HF burns, no matter how seemingly trivial, should be considered serious and proper medical treatment sought. For more information on this product, contact:

Pharmascience Inc., 8400 Darnley Road, Montreal, Quebec, H4T 1M4, Canada, Tel: (514) 340-1114


Lycopodium tablets

Introduction

Lycopodium spore tablets are commonly used in Quaternary palynology as a “spike” to inoculate samples during processing in order to calculate pollen concentration and pollen accumulation rate (PAR) values.

The following information has been extracted from a flyer produced by Dr Björn Berglund, Laboratory of Quaternary Biology, Lund University, Sweden, and is valid until batch #1031 (May 2011).

  • The Lycopodium spore tablets can be dissolved in water or in HCl but not in NaOH. The present batch of tablets are based mainly on sodium bicarbonate together with polyvinylpyrilidon and polyethyleneglycol which must be carefully washed away with water and finally with diluted HCl before further treatment. The spores are acetolysed.
  • The spore concentration has been determined with an electronic particle counter, Coulter Counter ZB, tube size 140 microns. One hundred samples of five tablets each taken from different places in the batch were prepared by dissolving the tablets in Isoton II NaCl solution in 100 ml flasks. Twenty counts each of 0.5 ml were made on each sample (see below).

The information below is extracted from a more recent flyer (batch #3862, June 2014):

  • Lycopodium spore tablets can be dissolved in water or in HCl. They have been prepared in a slightly different way compared to that described by Stockmarr (1971, 1973). The tablets are based mainly on sodium carbonate together with polyethyleneglycol. New for this batch is the that the sodium bicarbonate has been replaced by sodium carbonate. These materials must be carefully washed away with water. The spores are acetolysed.
  • The spore concentration has been determined with an electronic particle counter, Coulter Counter ZB (cf. Stockmarr 1973), tube size 100 μm. 100 samples of ten tablets each taken from different places in the batch were prepared by dissolving the tablets in Isoton II NaCl solution in 100 ml flasks. 5 counts each of 1 ml were made on each sample.

Distribution and price

Lycopodium tablets are distributed through the University of Lund, Sweden (contact them at: pollentab[at]geol[dot]lu[dot]se). They will be distributed in plastic bottles with 250 tablets per bottle. The price is 500 SEK per bottle plus postage. Discount for large orders: 10% for orders of 50-99 bottles, 20% for orders of 100 bottles or more.

More information on production, distribution, payment and where to order can be found here.

Calibration of tablets:

Lycopodium spore tablets (Batch 710961)
Results of the calibration (5 tablets): X = 69,556; s = ± 1,541; V = ± 2.2%
For one tablet: X=13,911

Lycopodium spore tablets (Batch 124961)
Results of the calibration (5 tablets): X = 62,712; s= ± 2,081; V = ± 3.3%
For one tablet: X = 12,542

Lycopodium spore tablets (Batch 483216)
Results of the calibration (5 tablets): X = 92,914, s = ± 3,820, V = ± 4.1%
For one tablet: X = 18,583

Lycopodium spore tablets (Batch 177745)
Results of the calibration (5 tablets): X = 92,918, s = ± 1,853, V = ± 2.0%
For one tablet: X = 18,584

Lycopodium spore tablets (Batch 1031) (May 2011)
Results of the calibration (5 tablets): X = 104,242, s = ± 3,457, V = ± 3.3%
For one tablet: X = 20,848

Lycopodium spore tablets (Batch 3862) (June 2014)
Results of the calibration (10 tablets): X = 96,660, s = ± 2,123, V = ± 2.2%
For one tablet: X = 9,666

Lycopodium spore tablets (Batch 140119321) (March 2019)
Results of the calibration (10 tablets): X = 198,549, s = ± 1,647, V = ± 0.83%
For one tablet: X = 19,855

Lycopodium spore tablets (Batch 050220211) (April 2020)
Results of the calibration (10 tablets): X = 184069, s = ± 1,872, V = ± 1.02%
For one tablet: X = 18,407, s = ± 592, V = ± 3.22%

See also the article on Statistics for Lycopodium Tablets by L. J. Maher.


Nitex® gauze

I recently had occasion to track down a supplier of Nitex® gauze. This nylon gauze, usually in 8 or 10 micron mesh opening, is used for filtering out very fine grained material, especially clay, in pollen processing. The gauze is expensive and suppliers are few. Because it took me some time to track down a Canadian-based supplier, I thought I would pass this information along to the rest of the palynological community.

Nitex® gauze, in various mesh openings, can be obtained through Dynamic Aqua-Supply, located in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. Their web site is at www.dynamicaqua.com and they can be reached at 604-543-7504. The gauze is sold by the linear yard, and the minimum order is one yard. As an example, the 10 micron mesh is listed at $172/yard, as of January 2005.

The gauze can also be obtained from: Miami Aqua-culture Inc., 805 North Federal Highway, Boyton Beach, Florida 33435, USA, Tel: 561-364-5999, Fax: 561-364-7748. The per yard price, as of July 2010, is $76.74. This information was supplied by Vaughn M. Bryant, December 2010.

Note: This article original appeared in CAP Newsletter 28(1):3, 2005.