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Thread: My techniques for the long term freezing, and testing of Heliamphora pollen.

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    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    Cool My techniques for the long term freezing, and testing of Heliamphora pollen.

    Per special request...

    I was going to do a more formal write up but meh, too much going on and lack of motivation LOL.


    Prior to freezing pollen I dehydrate it. This removes most of the moisture, preventing much of the damage associated with the process.
    Now, Ill be honest... I've not done any controlled experiments to see if this if it is really required. I just know it works and works well.
    So far I have frozen pollen for over 16 months and proven it is still viable. Luca has pollenated one of his helis using pollen of mine that was in excess of one year old.

    Its very, very simple :-)

    After harvesting the pollen, I immediately place it into micro-centrifuge tubes. I then take the tubes and place them (tops open) into a container of Silica desiccant. I then place the desiccant container in the fridge for two days. (tubes open, desiccant closed)
    Then, I open the desiccant container and immediately close the micro centrifuge tubes and place those into another container and place in the freezer.

    Residential refrigerators go through a defrost cycle every day or two. Placing the micro-centrifuge tubes into a larger container gives them added temp buffering during this defrost cycle.


    Tubes in desiccant:

    Notice in the picture I use two types of desiccant. The orange changes color when it's time to recharge them. They turn from orange to green. The white desiccant is not color indicating.
    The container I use for the freezer is the same thing, just no beads. I just toss the tubes into it and close up the lid.
    Be sure to mark the tubes.... its easy to forget what is what very quickly.

    Oh and prior to opening the tubes for use.... let them gently come up to room temperature or you will get condensation on the pollen grains, which is not good at all.

    I'll add the details of growing pollen tubes in a few days...

    HTH's
    Butch
    Last edited by Av8tor1; 07-21-2013 at 07:42 PM.

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    Lotsa blue bluemax's Avatar
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    Very slick! It is good to hear your methods and about your successes with viability. Now I have to wonder if this would work for other genera...
    - Mark

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    Very nice write-up, as always, Butch; though your failure to also list the silica desiccant as a delicious dessert topping, left me wanting . . .
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

    -- Galileo "Biff" Galilei

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    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    heheheheeh, sprinkles :-)

    For about 5 yrs I worked in a -40f environment. We had to dry all supply air with desiccant due to the issues with moisture at those temps.
    As temp drops RH rises... so even if you didn't have much moisture at room temp, when you start dropping temps, RH rises.

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    thanks Butch, I'll try this with collina

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    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    FWIW, the more common color change variants (pink/blue/etc) are toxic...
    I don't know if it would damage the pollen, but I went out of my way not to use those.

    The orange/green variant use non toxic organics.
    Last edited by Av8tor1; 07-22-2013 at 09:58 AM.

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