01 Sep

President Obama and New Species

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Amboina Box Turtle

Amboina Box Turtle

A new Genus and Species has been named after President Barack Obama.  This is the first time a new genus of turtle blood fluke has been proposed in 21 years.  The genus and species is Baracktrema obamai.  Dr. Thomas R. Platt of Saint Mary’s college discovered the new genus and species and named it after President Obama as an expression of his admiration of the United States president.  Dr. Platt admires the organism for it’s resiliency, he says they “face incredible obstacles to complete their journey (life cycle) and must contend with the immune system of the host in order to mature and reproduce”.  The parasite is a species found in Malaysian freshwater turtles.   It is not uncommon for scientists to name species after people they admire and respect.  There are several species named after President Obama, a few others are:

An extinct lizard:  Obamadon;   An Amazon Puffbird:  Nystalus obamai;  A Darter fish:  Etheostama obama









Joao Quental cc-by-2.0 generic license

Joao Quental cc-by-2.0 generic license






Spangled Darter

Spangled Darter









20 Apr

Bunny Suits

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Dupont Coveralls

Dupont Coveralls

Bunny suits, or Coveralls, are available in several different forms and materials. Cleanroom Coveralls  for manufacturing and product handling in the pharmaceutical industry, or antistatic work in the electronics industry are designed to protect the work from particulates and/or static.  The material used in these suits need not be fluid resistant as the worker need not be protected from contamination.

In environments such as biohazard laboratories, chemical handling, or nuclear power containment it is necessary that the worker be protected from contamination. These protective coveralls are made of fluid resistant materials.

Some coveralls are one piece including hood and boots, other have separate hood and boots. Manufacturers for cleanroom coveralls include Kimberly Clark, DuPont, White Knight, Internatinal Enviroguard, and VWR to name a few.  Some manufacturers for protective coveralls are Kimberly Clark, DuPont, Ansell Healthcare, and Honeywell

Materials include:

SMS (spun bound polymer bonded to a melt bound polymer) used in ISO Cleanrooms


Polyester with carbon fiber for static control (ESD)

Polyolefin for  protection from dry particles, microorganisms, and nonhazardous liquids

DuPont™ Tyvek® for fluid resistance

Polypropylene for chemical resistance


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19 Feb

Emergency Eyewash and ANSI Z358.1-2009

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We never want to have to use our emergency eyewash stations, but if we do need to use one we don’t want ice cold water hitting our eyeballs.  In the ANSI Z358.1-2009

WaterSaver Tempering-Mixing ValveEncon Pedestal Eyewash Stationrequirements the water supplied to emergency stations must be tepid (between 60 and 90°F ).   Plumbed eyewash stations will need a tempering or mixing valve for mixing hot and cold water to comply with the ANSI requirement.  Watersaver Faucet supplies a tempering valve to blend hot and cold water for delivering tepid water.  The Water Saver tempering valve is specifically designed for plumbed eyewash and eye and face wash stations.

The tempering valve has a thermostat which detects the temperature of the hot water and blends the hot and cold water to 85°F.  The high cut off for the tempering valve is 90°F, based on an incoming water temperature of <140°F.  Flow capacity is 0.5 to 6 gpm (gallons per minute) and the inlet and outlet is 1/2 in NPT.  The tempering valve is available as is, in a surface mounted stainless steel cabinet, or in a recess mounted stainless steel cabinet.


Robin Prymula

26 Jan

Explosion Proof?

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Explosion Proof RefrigeratorI recently had an inquiry for an explosion proof refrigerator.  A client wanted to store a potentially explosive chemical in a refrigerator.  I decided to do some research on what “Explosion Proof” really means.  I discussed this with several suppliers of flammable materials and explosion proof refrigerators and freezers.  Here is what I have learned:

Explosion proof refrigerators are designed for use in areas which may have explosive or flammable gases in the atmosphere – Hazardous Locations.  The compressors in the refrigerators are isolated and will produce no external sparks which might ignite explosive or flammable fumes.

Flammable material storage refrigerators are designed for storing flammable products.  The compressors in these refrigerators are isolated from the interior of the refrigerator and there is nothing inside the refrigerator to generate a spark which might ignite any flammable fumes inside.

In my discussion of my client’s request the suppliers recommended a flammable materials refrigerator for storing his sample.  These types of refrigerators are not designed to contain an explosion should one occur, they are only designed not to create an explosion in their normal operation.  I don’t know of a storage refrigerator or freezer which is designed to contain an explosion.


Robin Prymula

05 Jan

Standard Addition; when is it useful?

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Recently I have seen discussions and questions about the analytical method of standard addition.  Standard addition can apply to any analytical method which has a linear signal or response vs. concentration of the analyte; for example absorbance in spectroscopy or peak area in chromatography.  Standard addition is used when the matrix effects of a sample changes the response in a linear manner by changing the slope of the standard curve y= mx+b; m would change as a result of the sample matrix.  Standard addition will not work where matrix effect contributes to baseline response – b.  If b is affected a sample matrix blank would have to be subtracted from all values to use the standard addition method.

Standard Addition

In the graph above is a response of analyte concentration to absorbance.  The lower regression line is the response of the analyte as a standard curve.  The upper regression line is the standard addition in a sample matrix.  The slope of the two lines is different due to matrix effects. If the sample analyte within the matrix with signal of 0.09 is compared to the standard curve a concentration of 8.9 ppm would be the result.  Using the standard addition line the concentration of the sample is the absolute value as the regression line crosses the X axis:  (-)7.1 ppm.

Standard addition can be used in a quality control setting using only one standard if the method has been verified to be linear in the sample matrix and it has been verified there is no enhancement of the baseline (blank) signal based on matrix effects.  The level of standard to be added should be at least 2x the level of analyte expected in the sample* – as long as the resulting signal is within the linear range.  The standard must be added to each sample for reliable results.  The volume must either be kept constant or the change in volume must be considered in calculating the concentration of the standard.


Robin Prymula


*Thompson, Michael, ed. “Standard Additions: Myth and Reality.” Amc Technical Briefs 1 Mar. 2009. Print.


05 Nov

EVOS® Cell Imaging Systems – Eliminating the Complexities of Microscopy

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Microscopy is a definitely skill worth learning; but when you must capture images for reports, or show images to your students, you would rather dispense with complicated set ups. Finally, there is a cell imaging system able to eliminate the challenges and complexities of microscopy – without compromising performance. Enter the EVOS Cell Imaging System. Whether you’re capturing images for publications, teaching, or research, the EVOS system was designed to allow users to focus on their data rather than the operation of the microscope.


Built to perform a variety of routine and specialty applications, EVOS Imaging Systems can handle everything from cell cultures to complex protein analysis. The proprietary LED light cube technology minimizes photobleaching and offers over 50,000 hours of LED illumination, along with adjustable intensity.




There are five Cell Imaging Systems to choose from:

  1. EVOS XL Core - Bright-field and phase contrast with 4 position objective turret.
  2. EVOS XL – Bright-field and phase contrast with 5 position objective turret.
  3. EVOS FLoid - Fluorescence channels:  DAPI (blue), FITC (green), and Texas Red (red)
  4. EVOS FL - Simultaneously accommodates up to 4 fluorescent light cubes.  Proprietary LED light cubes include:  DAPI, TagBFP, CFG, DFP YFP, RFP, Texas Red, Cy5, Cy5.5, Cy7.  Custom cubes are available.
  5. EVOS FL Auto - Automated X-Y scanning stage; interchangeable vessel holders available.  Optional onstage incubator also available


Interested? Learn more about the entire EVOS Cell Imaging System Lineup at EVOS Cell Imaging Systems

27 Mar

Consumer Drones

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So, unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last year, you could not of helped to hear about the future of delivery and surveillance that we will be in our lives in the near future.  Actually, I guess this is already happening.   And for those of you,  like my wife, (sorry honey), who aren’t really sure what a “Drone” is,   we’re talking about those small, unmanned aircraft.  And why have I brought up this topic you may ask?  When you think about it, there is a lot of controversy behind it.  From a guy’s perspective, they’re cool toys.  Expensive, but cool.

Now, I’m not really addressing the ones being used by the armed forces.  Undoubtedly, they help to save lives of our troops in an effecient way.  I’m sure there’s an argument behind this statement as well.

1385947944000-AmazonPrimeAir2I was thinking more about the role that retailers like Amazon are taking.  For me personally, I feel this is great concept.  Logistically can this really happen?  I mean, are flying package drones going to collide with themselves or worse, aircraft?

An Amazon photo showing a test of package delivery by drone(Photo: Amazon)

This seems to be something taken right out of the cartoon, The Jetsons, that we use to watch on Saturday mornings.  And bottom line, do we really need delivery within the hour?

I welcome your feed back.

Stephen Gonshorek

20 Mar

Teaching Children to Have Grit

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Teaching our children to have grit.  No, this has nothing to do with our kids playing out in the sand and mud.  I happen to hear this very interesting story on NPR (National Public Radio).  At first I had visions of the old movie “True Grit” with John Wayne

(photo courtesy of IMDbPro)  

True GitWell, it ends up that I was on target.  There’s a movement in several of our school systems that have created programs for kids, to basically teach them to deal with rejection, failure and to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”.

I personally understand the concept as relating to my own kids.  We all want to see our children succeed in their studies, careers and life, in general, but if we always “baby” them, how are they supposed to deal with stress and adversity in their adult lives?  So, does Teaching Kids To Get ‘Gritty’ Help Them Get Ahead?   Again we’re defining grit as persistence, determination and resilience.

According to NPR, even the Obama administration is now on the “grit” bandwagon. A 2013 report from the Department of Education states that kids are learning to “do school,” but aren’t learning the skills they need in life.

The other side of the coin are those who feel this is just another fad in education that will soon “burn itself out”.

I welcome your feedback on this very interesting topic.

Stephen Gonshorek

13 Mar

3-D Printer Helps Baby Breathe

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mottnhp01-3106278890-o_new-57cc4bbe2d26787a8c4f9cf8c7b86c62afba585f-s2-c85Picture of baby Garrett and His Mother Natalie Peterson,  courtesy of NPR.

On my way to work this morning, I was Listening to this incredible story on NPR about Garrett, who was born with a defective windpipe.  Apparently, Garrett was born with a defective windpipe. The condition, is called, tracheomalacia.  In Garrett’s case, his  left trachea is so weak that it takes very little for his trachea to collapse, causing him to stop breathing.

Garrett’s parents were able to connect with Dr. Glenn Green fromt he University of Michigan.  Scott Hollister, a biomedical engineer, runs the University’s 3-D Printer, was able to create a splints to hold open little Garrett’s windpipe.

garrett005-cc6213cb95fd193d5b2973f77781c87780bb3d14-s3-c85Pictured right is a model of Garrett’s trachea, along with splints similar to those used in the operation. Picture provided by Juliet Fuller/University of Michigan Health System.

Doctors were able to make a replica of Garrett’s windpipe from a CT scan.  The comparrison was made of a tent that one might use to go camping, that keeps falling down.  The splints were able to keep Garrett’s windpipe open.    A frustrating part of the story was that the device did not have FDA approval.  Hats off to Doctor Green and Scott Hollister for convincing the FDA to issue an emergency waiver.

Long story short, little Garrett has responded very well to the surgery.  He is still on a ventilator but his prognosis for a healthy future is very promising.

Wondering if anyone else happen to hear the story.  It made me think of all the babies who probably did not survive in the past.  It made me think how wonderful and cool technology can be.

Stephen Gonshorek

22 Feb

Do You Need Your Lab Water Deionized (Softened, Polished)?

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From Thermo Scientific

From Thermo Scientific

Perhaps all your lab needs is deionized water.  Or you would like to use DI water as feed water for further purification.  There are cartridge deionizers which are simple to install and require little maintenance.

Ion exchange in water treatment removes monovalent ions from water such as Na+, K+, and Cl; divalent ions such as Ca2+ and Mg2+; and other polyvalent inorganic ions such as SO42− and PO43−.  These ions contribute to the conductivity of water and the removal of these ions is necessary to produce the resistivity necessary for ASTM type II and type I water.Ion exchange resins are tiny synthetic beads which have hydrogen ions (H+) and hydroxyl ions (OH) on their surfaces.  As the water passes across these beads the H+ is exchanged with the positive ions in the feed water and the OH is exchanged with the negative ions in the feed water.  The replaced OH and H+ combine to produce H2O while the larger ions are bound to the resin beads.

From Thermo Scientific

From Thermo Scientific

Cation exchange resins remove the positively charged ions and anion exchange resins remove the negatively charged ions.  Eventually all the binding sites on the resin are filled and the resin has to be regenerated or replaced.  In the case of a home water softening system the cation exchange resin can be regeneratedby passing a concentrated salt solution through the resin.  Laboratory water purification systems use a mixed bed ion exchange cartridge where both cation and anion exchange resins are present so regeneration is not practical and the cartridge must be replaced.

Mixed bed ion exchange is very efficient at removing dissolved inorganic ions and produces water with >18 MΩ⋅cm resistivity.  To produce Type II or type I water ion exchange must be used with other water purification technologies.  Ion exchange does not remove particles or colloids (filtration), it does not remove organics (distillation/reverse osmosis), and pyrogens or bacteria (reverse osmosis/ultrafiltration).

Robin Prymula