Conservation of Body Sections and Organs of the Narrownose Smooth-hound, Mustelus schmitti (Pisces, Chondrichthyes), by Silicone Injection at Room Temperature to be Used in Comparative Anatomy learning

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Albertina Inés Popp; Ana Paula Basso; Mariela Victoria Lodovichi & Nora Silvia Sidorkewicj


Comparative Anatomy deals with the study of the ontogenetic and phylogenetic changes of the vertebrates, requiring complementing the theoretical aspects with the observation of structures in specimens belonging to different taxonomic groups. The aim of the present study was to test the injection of silicone at room temperature in organs and trunk sections of Mustelus schmitti as an alternative to the plastination technique. Samples consisted in brain, eyes, heart, proximal end of the ventral aorta, digestive tract, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, testis and cross body section at a pre-caudal level. Material was fixed with formalin (10-5 %), dehydrated with growing concentrations of isopropyl (30 % - 50 % - 70 % - 90 % - 100 % - 100 %), impregnated with diluted commercial silicone and cured at room temperature. The whole process took 66 days. The brain was the unique organ that could not undergo the complete procedure because it did not resist the injection of silicone. The other pieces resulted in materials that characterised by being off-colour, dry, semi-flexible, lightweight, odourless, and non-toxic. They showed no signs of fungal colonization or bacterial degradation after two years of being obtained. Shrinkage was observed, which ranged among 2-25 % for total length, and from 5-26 % for maximum width (mean values: 14 and 15 %, respectively), being testicle the organ that suffered greater shrinkage in both dimensions. The degree of contraction in length and width for each of the samples was generally similar (difference ≤ 3 %), indicating that not striking deformation occurred. Deformation was observed only for the trunk section, eye, stomach, pancreas and valvular intestine. The technique did not affect the morphology of the structures, allowing the correct visualization of all the basic features required to recognise them. We conclude that this simple and economic method is an adequate alternative to be implemented for the conservation of small-size materials with educational purposes in Comparative Anatomy courses.

KEY WORDS: Conservation techniques; Acetic silicone; Education; Dissection; Comparative Anatomy.

How to cite this article

POPP, A. I.; BASSO, A. P.; LODOVICHI, M. V. & SIDORKEWICJ, N. S. Conservation of body sections and organs of the narrownose smooth-hound, Mustelus schmitti (Pisces, Chondrichthyes), by silicone injection at room temperature to be used in Comparative Anatomy learning. Int. J. Morphol., 36(2):413-418, 2018.