formic seems to be the best acid of choice for most.
my exclusive use of sulphuric acid may be ending soon.
i do think that "acid" seems to enhance fur color. look at he woods in the fall. most of all the colorful leaves turning bright orange, red, gold, yellow, purple, brown and green. seem to come from the soils with the most acids. did you know putting oak bark in the water of chickens will prevent some deseases. i tryed it on the fox ranch one year  and had the best colored silver foxes fur ever. maybe Glen Conley knows the E=MC2 equation of this ol' wives tale phenomenon.
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I may change my mind about taxidermy not being rocket science. You two seem to be trying to get a man on Mars.
I'm afraid we are going to have to re-program him AGAIN!
First off, the colors of fall leaves are frequently an indicator of what the leaves "contain" as a result of decompositions. Remember, yellow means caution, and red means stop. You don't want to eat yellow snow, nor do you want to eat yellow or red leaves.
One of the most "classic" examples of red leaves being undesireable food would be that of the red maple.
The red is a result of a formed acid that is in a pass through phase. While in the stage, the leaves are highly toxic. That is where the phrase "red maple poisoning" comes from. If I remember right, it only takes three ounces of red leaf to kill a horse or cow.
In regards to the oak bark chicken treatment, there "might" well be some logic to it from the standpoint of tannic acid going into solution, possibly even a two fold function here.
The crop is a mucous membrane. Like any mucous membrane, it can be stimulated to over activity to keep a balance with the rest of the living system.
Think in terms of fish producing extra slime or mucous when exposed to a sudden increase or decrease of pH conditions. This prevents acidiosis or alkaliosis of the balance of the system. In other words, a first line of defense that we normally don't think in terms of.
If crop exudants are not "moved on", they can become a breeding ground for undesireable micro-organisms. As with any part of the digestive system, things have to be kept in balance. Examples here could be that of birds of prey needing fur, hair, and feathers to keep the crop from building up mucous that could be attacked by fungus, which can wind up perforating the crop. Another might be that of baby hand-fed hook bills and the predisposition towards having yeast infections of candida albicans getting out of hand.
Given antibiotics can also cause the bird system to go out of balance, killing or keeping the bacteria static can allow the food competing yeasts and fungi to take over. This would be a good time to point out that each can produce acids as part of their synthesis that can interfere with the synthesis of the competing organism, think in terms of mold produced penicillin to get an idea of effectiveness.
Each micro-organism will have some form of optimum conditions that need to be met, pH is always a factor in that part of the quo.
Back to tannic acid. Tannic acid is credited as being the natural vermifuge that helps to keep internal worms in check in animals that dine on acorns.
However, on the other side of the coin, tannic acid absorbed through the hoof of a horse can produce tannic acid laminitis, or founder. This condition has been produced by someone bedding horses in sawdust or shavings that contain walnut. Once urinated on, the acid can be released into the fluid.
That's my take on it. Possibilities of tannic acid in animal husbandry might well exist, but I would have to see that as one where any R&D would have to be carried out with the utmost caution.
ej, remember, a taxidermist has ta all the time be thinkin'.
Glen, you certainly know chemistry. ever been in love? it hurts!
but i think alot of your thought experiments need to control more of the variables where possible.
and. George, haven't you heard! were going private on space flight. and certainly mars is our next goal to be reached. i have a feeling you secretly want to be the first taxidermist on mars. via this medium.
thank you for sharing your knowledge, Glen. i have also heard that walnut sawdust is not to be used for animal bedding. i never new exactly why however. certain trees like apple will not grow around or near a walnut tree. [juglans] they sure make beautiful gun stocks and fireplace mantels though.
i think you are one of the most knowledgable chemists on this forum. PLease keep it up dude!
i r 50 and my 1Q is 4.
Let me quote Glen for you EJ " Possibilities of tannic acid in animal husbandry might well exist, but I would have to see that as one where any R&D would have to be carried out with the utmost caution."
Now my nephew is a good chemist and microbiologist, but he does seem to have a propensity for baffling with bullsh1t at times. So EJ, what he REALLY said was the pH MIGHT be a contributing factor.
Now Dammit Scotty, is that transporter back on line?
a personal problem. There isn't any thing in my above thread that could not be verified as simple facts of life.
Hey, Unc, allow me to use your quote of what you "think" I meant.
"So EJ, what he REALLY said was the pH MIGHT be a contributing factor."
A pH reading does not yield any identity other than acid, neutral, or base. So when we take such readings, we tend to take the mentality that "all snakes are poisonous".
I have beat my drum on the differences of acids for some time, but an obstacle that I face is that there are so many acids that it can be baffling...
Just in pointing out the effects of tannic acid on internal parasites should serve as some kind of indicator. Dead parasite, live host. See how easy the correlation was there? Enter the horse with tannic acid exposure. Lame horse, body function and metabolism interfered with. Same acid each time, but now we have different end results.
Now to put this into a taxidermy perspective, different acids have different effects on proteins. Not all proteins are the same. They have different structural characteristics even though they are all composed of the same elements. Example: lead (can be a metal, or a leash for an animal, or some one or something that is in front, or the foot beat pattern of an animal. Same letter "elements", but totally different. Let's take the same letters and switch their locations, and we now have "deal".)
The same analogy can apply to acids. Even though they have the same number of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen ions in their formulation, they can actually be a different acid as far as behavior. The formic acid used in tanning and the formic acid produced by bees and wasps share the same number of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen, but that would be the equivalent of lead and deal.
I think I can make a "safe rule" by saying the hydophilic (water loving, solubile)proteins will be the first to be affected by an acid, while the hydrophobic (water fearing) proteins will be the last.
If you were to look at collagen structures as being hydrophobic, and the body fluids that courses through these structures in a live animal as hydrophilic, you should be able to correlate that the fluids CAN BE REMOVED with out doing a lot of damage to the actual physical structure of the collagen.
The piece of skin sample that I sent you awhile back that was several years old was done around the above principles. That's why when you put it in water that it would not disintegrate. However, the same piece could have been pickled with formic, the structure of the collagen strands would have been broken, and once the formic was lost off over time as water and carbon monoxide, the connecting bonds to the proteins would have been lost too. Then when the piece would be rehydrated, it would disintegrate.
Is all this making sense now, or is it still baffling?
thanks, uncle George Roof, nephew Glen Conley & #9..I THINK!
WHAT A DEAL! LEAD ON, BUT GET THE LEAD OUT.
a piece of deer hide, pickled in formic over 15 years ago, and it wont fall apart. I have turned this same wt hide into nothing but scrap, over the last three years, by cutting off pieces, and testing them in different solutions. I hate to say it George, but its alum tanned. Ive mentioned it, quite a few times before. I dis-agree about the formic Glen. Decades of sucessful formic use, prove otherwise. Yall have a good evening.
First you say it was pickled in formic acid, then you say it was alum tanned, then you say decades of successful formic use. WHAT did this deer hide actually go through?
Was the formic acid and alum used in conjunction? Was this alum aluminum sulphate?
Details, details, details, they CAN be significant.
There is actually a thread in the Archives on chemical conversions you might find of interest. There's a few mizzspelled words in it, but you'll just have to get over that.
By the way, the piece I sent yer Uncle George...I used magnesium sulphate on it. Don't tell anybody.
Formic has been used by many tanners for decades. They are still doing well. Formic pickle, with the correct ammount of salt, and aluminum sulphate tanned, also with the correct ammount of salt. Oiled and kikked, for real oil penetration. For those of you that dont know, a kikker is a machine, that physically pounds oil into the inner fibers of a skin. Glen, I cut the hide into pieces, about 6 inches square, and create different senerios. Ive got a piece in right now, of that hide, and cant even create an acid swell condition. 20 gal of water, 64oz of formic, and 10 pounds of salt. I believe that the post tan treatment of a skin, is very important to skin preservation, and is more important than we yet know. I typed a post months back about high ph's. After some testing I found high ph's alone, dont cause slip. Sodium hydroxide will. I try to fit most of my playing aroung into a 60hr work week. This site makes me want to dabble beyond preset formulas, but not with customer skins.LOL I love the debate, and I love my trade. Cmon back.