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What chemicals will dissolve biological matter fastest?

  1. May 25, 2013 #1
    In the matter of 30 seconds, preferably.

    So far it seems Sulfuric Acid, Hydrogen Peroxide and Permanganate in a cocktail will suffice.

    Are there any faster, cheaper methods?

    Thanks :)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 25, 2013 #2

    Borek

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    Actually permanganate will get reduced by the hydrogen peroxide, rendering the mixture useless.

    What do you need it for? Using strong oxidizers with organic matter can be dangerous.
     
  4. May 25, 2013 #3
    Thanks for the information, I am curious if it will dissolve organic tissues in under half a minute. For example, to extract the bones out of a mouse by eliminating all tissue matter.
     
  5. May 26, 2013 #4

    Borek

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    I doubt anything will be able to act that fast and to not eat through the bones as well.
     
  6. May 26, 2013 #5

    jim mcnamara

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    Why so fast? Are you serially processing dozens of mice? We used Dermestid beetles to get really clean skeletons from small mammal carcasses - this is the defacto method for really clean. Plus, long term, they are way cheaper than chemicals.

    Fast oxidation will severely degrade the skeleton, as Borek says. And you really did not answer the question: What are you doing with the skeletal material?

    Dermestid beetles in the US (example):

    http://www.carolina.com/dermestid/dermestid-beetle-assortment-living/144168.pr
     
  7. May 26, 2013 #6
    Say if I extracted the bones first, in your best opinion Borek, how long will it take to dissolve say 1kg of left overs in that cocktail mix?
     
  8. May 26, 2013 #7
    Thanks for the input, Dermestid beetles look interesting for a longer time frame. I find it to be interesting to initiate a contest where each person has to either dissolve or somehow extract everything except bones to construct them with quick dry superglue.
     
  9. May 26, 2013 #8

    jim mcnamara

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    Okay. If this is a "contest" you should be painfully aware that the chemicals you are using are dangerous to humans. It is a genuinely bad idea to create a situation where the goal is to "go fast" using dangerous materials. It is a great way to get in legal trouble.

    I'm sure Borek, or any chemist, can provide you with stories about the nasty things that happen when inexperienced, unsupervised, and/or sloppy people start playing with chemicals. I give up.
     
  10. May 26, 2013 #9

    turbo

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    Do all these people have training and protective gear plus access to decent fume hoods? Probably not, so the possibility of injury is very high. I would strongly advise against this "contest", even if you answered "yes" to all three. Trying to do things quickly using very strong chemicals is a great way to get hurt.
     
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