Denatured ethanol and DNA preservation - (Apr/29/2012 )
I am collecting insects abroad and in many countries the only ethanol available to buy to perserve tissue (whole insects) is denatured ethanol. Does anyone know if this will be a problem for the DNA? We are not likely to be able to freeze the specimens, can anyone think of any other way of bringing them back for genetic work?
It depends on the additives which make up the denaturing part, but in general, if it is mostly methanol, it should be fine.
This is always an issue and I had sometimes severe problems with this (e.g. with traps, but here also the dilution and evaporation is important), especially when you or others use low quality denatured ethanol. Anyway so far I never really found out what the DNA killed....Not sure if the MEK, pyridine or other stuff (e.g. production contaminants in not purified enough ethanol) is responsible...anyway stuff like "methylated spirits" you use for igniting barbecues I would definitely avoid.
Now I avoid denatured ethanol generally if it's possible for such samples, or when sampling with it I change ethanol when back in the lab. It's also a factor of money .
There are several papers about it. One tested several denaturating agents, but I cannot find it at the moment.