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Adipocere Dissolving?

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by APLe, Jun 18, 2020.

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  1. APLe

    APLe New Member

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    Hello all!

    I have macerated eagle recently. The water was warm, but it looks like the bird was too fat, so there are thick adipocere layers appeared.

    Did somebody find a way to dissolve it? Removing it with toothbrush is a big work.

    I tried to use many solvents, but none of them works good, :- (.
    Used solvents:
    1. Ethanol
    2. Isopropanol
    3. Isobutanol
    4. Acetone
    5. Acetonitrile
    6. 30% ammonium
    7. Toluene
    8. Diethyl ether
    9. DMSO
    10. Tetrahydrofurane

    Any other ideas?
     
  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Adipocere is a very stable, non soluble wax. The best thing to remove it is detergents/soap and scrubbing with a brush. For an eagle, use old toothbrush and stiff bristled artist paintbrushes.
     
    socalmountainman likes this.

  3. APLe

    APLe New Member

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    Two hours of ultrasonic bath with dish soap have not work either.

    It looks like Sea Wolf's variant is really only option. :- (
     
  4. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Yep. I have also tested different solvents with poor results. The best way is to avoid it by using heat to macerate, remove as much flesh as possible before and change half the water once in a while to keep oxygen in the bacterial culture. Adipocere happens especially if the oxygen is all gone and anaerobic bacteria take over.
     
    Vulpes Vulpes likes this.
  5. APLe

    APLe New Member

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    Maceration temperature was 38 С (100 F), 90% water was changed every day for first week and every 2-3 days for second-third weeks. It did not help, :- (.
     
  6. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Plenty of oxygen then. But, when you macerate, you need to leave the specimen alone. Changing the water every day does not allow the bacteria to grow and function properly. That is why it took so long. A bird like that would have been clean in a week, less than 2. Let the specimen be undisturbed for at least 4 to 5 days first. Yes, it will smell, it is supposed to. If the water is really foul at that time, pour off only half of the water to refresh it. For something as small as the bird with as little flesh that was on it, I would not have changed the water at all. It should have been free of flesh and clean in a week. You still have a nice specimen though and small brushes and some detergent/soap will get it clean. Did you also save the outer beak sheath and the eye rings from inside the eyeball?
     
  7. APLe

    APLe New Member

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    By the way. Toluene + ultrasound do not work too.

    Water was aerated and pumped too, :- ).
    However I use 50 l (13 gal) tank, and bones were near the bottom. Could it be the reason of adipocerating, how do you think?



    Bones were clean in 1-2 weeks, yes. I macerate it longer for whitening and degreasing. This method worked well previously, and I do not know why it did not work this time.

    Here is my previous pelican, for example:
    _QcujffZZP8[1].jpg

    Smell is very undesirable in the kitchen maceration, :- ).

    I even think about each-hour automatic water changer. I want to believe, it decrease smell (and, probably, decrease adipocering too? )

    Sheaths of beak and claws are saved.
    My friend has been interested in eyeballs, so they are saved in fridge now. I'll make eye rings, if my friend will not take the eyeballs.
     
  8. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Possibly too much water for the size of the specimen? As for water changes, you really need to leave it alone to work if you are going to do it properly. Changing the water all the time prevents the bacteria from working and building up a good culture. This is a process with flesh eating bacteria and is not suitable to be done in any living space let alone a kitchen where food is prepared. A very dangerous practice.

    Benzene was a solvent I wanted to try but near impossible to get any quantity of it here.
     
  9. APLe

    APLe New Member

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    Nope, it does not work, :-(.
    I tried to dissolve it in benzene for ~3 hours at 70C (160F), and there were no visible changes.
     
  10. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    With any solvent, I would have waited at least a day or two. No solvent is going to strip grease from solid bone in a few hours. A soap or detergent would also take time. There is no magic instant fix.
     
  11. APLe

    APLe New Member

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    Yes! I found a better way!
    I try to use the jewellery sand-jet with soda (NaHCO3) as the soft abrasive. It works!
    Here are to simple examples:
    Badger, before: b1.jpg b3.jpg b4.jpg
    After1-2 mins: a1.jpg a2.jpg a4.jpg

    Gull before: b_1.jpg b_2.jpg
    After 1-2 mins: a_1.jpg a_2.jpg
     
  12. APLe

    APLe New Member

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    And another example, complex one: hight-adipocerated sacred bone of eagle.
    Before: mb3.jpg mb2.jpg mb1.jpg

    After 15 minutes of work: ma1.jpg ma2.jpg ma3.jpg

    There are a little adipocere, that I could not remove this way, but it could be visible only in a few special angles:
    mae.jpg
     
  13. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Wondering if you have any info on the equipment? Website? Sounds like sandblasting with the soda as the abrasive. Soda otherwise would be bad for bone but not in this way. Looks like it does a better job in the tight areas that scrubbing with various small bristle brushes.
     
  14. APLe

    APLe New Member

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    Yes, "sandblasting". Sorry, I have took "sand-jet" as the first word in the dictionary.

    Yes, it is dry here, so it is chemically neutral.
    And it should be blown after sandblasting, of course.

    Here it is: sEZLKUOn_us.jpg sMXdIJAuV2A.jpg WWhcGbdjAzw.jpg
     
  15. Great Skulls

    Great Skulls Active Member

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    That looks fantastic! Thanks for the idea.
     
  16. Great Skulls

    Great Skulls Active Member

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  17. ARUsher

    ARUsher Well-Known Member

    You can also get small sand blasters on Amazon. Soda works good as an agent in these and you can get one of these for about $50. 3685F593-80A0-42B2-AC6C-A128B7AB8552.png
     
  18. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I have a huge air compressor so the above looks like it is cheap enough to experiment with for starters. A lot of what I work with is too big to fit in an enclosed chamber but the free standing gun looks tempting.
     
    coroner2 and ARUsher like this.
  19. ARUsher

    ARUsher Well-Known Member

    You would be surprised how well it works for this without causing any type of damage. Try it before taking any type brush and scrubbing.
     
  20. APLe

    APLe New Member

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    I think, common "construction" sand blaster is not good too idea. It makes wide sand cone, it has thick nose, inconvenient for narrow pits, it has huge abrasive consumption and it makes huge amount of dust.

    I have bought my set (in used condition, with 2 kg Al2O3 professional abrasive) for about 120 USD. And, according my experience, ebay prices are less, then our local ones.

    By the way, I tried to use another abrasives. Al2O3 destroy bones. But Ca/MgCO3 remove adipocere even better, then NaHCO3, and it makes dust, that much less acrid. Additional short sandblasting with Ca/MgCO3 of the same part of eagle sacrum removed about 1/2 of the adipocere, that left after NaHCO3 sanblasting (see above).
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2021