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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

How to prepare dried specimens of cultures
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Dried specimens of living cultures can be made easily using a single or double cardboard slide mailer, any water-soluble glue such as Elmer’s, and silica gel in a tight-fitting box.

knife, culture and slide mailerSqueeze a fairly thick layer of glue directly onto the slide mailer (do not use a glass slide) and place a slice of agar on it so that when moved slightly, the glue comes up along the sides of the wet agar, which is 2-3 mm thick when fresh.

slide mailer in container of silica gelThen place the slide-mailer, lid open, in a container with silica gel ca 1 cm deep. Place a tight fitting lid on the container. A box of this size can hold about 5-6 mailers.

dried voucher specimensThe glue and agar dry at about the same rate and are hard within 2-3 days.

Other techniques for making dried cultures exist. Cultures in plastic petri plates may simply dry up if the lid is left unsealed. The flat circle of media and fungus should be placed in a glassine envelope, labeled, and mailed to the herbarium. However, such cultures may stick to the plate and be difficult to remove without breaking. In addition, they are very fragile and delicate aerial structures may be crushed in the packets.


Last Modified: 10/24/2005
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