If you’ve ever visited a museum or laboratory, you might have noticed a specimen in a glass jar – perhaps an eyeball or a fish, perfectly preserved? This may be down to the preservative power of alcohol. Scientists have relied on this method of preservation since the 1600s, and if done correctly, such specimens can be kept for hundreds of years. This process is known as fluid preservation.  

Fluid preservation has been achieved using a variety of fluids over the years, but alcohol is by far the most common.

How does preserving work?

The fluid preservative is the solution in which the specimen will permanently remain. This is usually alcohol. In concentrations of 70%-80% of alcohol with the remainder being water, the fluid keeps the specimen from decomposing as well as killing off any bacteria and mould. In these concentrations, there’s enough water in the solution to keep the tissues of the specimen hydrated, which helps hold its shape, and enough alcohol to prevent decomposition. 

What products should you use?

Whether you’re preserving animals for historic displays or examination, or DNA extraction, alcohol will be at the forefront of your preservation practice. 

AGMA’s Sterile DE 70% is the product best suited to fluid preservation. With its high alcohol content of DE 70% in WFI quality water, it is perfect as a proven industry standard biocide.


Preserving in practice

Set in an impressive 80 acre complex, The Historic Dockyard Chatham provides a rich, authentic and varied learning environment, famously known for where they film scenes in ‘Call the Midwife’.

The Historic Dockyard reached out to AGMA to order a sterile solution for the fluid preservation of specimens for their upcoming ‘Monsters of the Deep’ exhibition. AGMA’s Sterile DE 70% was used – preserving the shape and look of rare deep ocean inhabitants.

The exhibition – on show from 01 April 2023 to 19 November 2023 – delves into how today’s scientists explore the seas aboard submersibles, going deeper and further into unchartered waters. Get lost amongst rare, unexplored selected fish outside of their natural habitat.

“The team at AGMA Ltd provided us with a large quantity of denatured alcohol for a museum exhibition install. The product arrived within 3 days of payment and the team were extremely helpful – from the actual ordering progress to regular shipping status updates.”

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