Will My Buffered Formal Saline Vials Stay With Me Forever?

Categories: Blog, General

It’s the start of bull buying season and, with a number of bull breeding soundness examination (BBSE) tests lined up in the calendar, you have decided to bulk buy some buffered formal saline (FS) vials from the team here at QSML.

Firstly, well done on being organised! And great choice in selecting the QSML vials, our screwtop lids ensure there is no leakage during postage.

But if you don’t properly store your FS vials, you may find that your good organisational skills could get you into strife down the track…

The issue with expired vials

We have had two cases arise of spermiograms with very high distal midpiece reflex (DMR) without droplets and bent tails which, after discussion with the practitioners, may have occurred due to the age and storage of the FS in use. This is unfortunate as it may require a second visit to the bull to check that the problem is due to the FS and not to the bull.

Storing your QSML Buffered Formal Saline Vials

Just like the Barth tapes, a hot car is not conducive to a long life for an FS vial.

The reason for this is that the initial formalin is made from formaldehyde gas mixed with water and a buffer. This dissolved formaldehyde will readily polymerize to paraformaldehyde – so in order to prevent this, 10% methanol is added to the formalin. However, this act of prevention is really just slowing the process down and eventually, polymerisation will still occur, just at a slower rate.

Formic acid also condenses from the formaldehyde, which lowers the pH of the solution over time. As you know pH may affect particularly the sperm midpiece and principal piece. Check your containers of formalin or FS vials for the telltale white precipitate and cloudiness.

We recommend you store your vials in the air-conditioned clinic and take the required amount with you for each collection. The recommended long term storage temperatures for formalin are between 15-30C.

Lifespan of a QSML Buffered Formal Saline Vial

QSML vials are designed to last you 12 months (with proper storage) from when you order them. If you’ve got some vials that are older than 12 months, we recommend you check them. If they appear cloudy with any precipitate they are expired and you will need to order new ones.

There is nothing worse than being asked to collect a bull and realise that you do not have FS on hand. It may be wise, however, to only purchase sufficient vials annually prior to your main BBSE season.

If you’d like to order some vials today, you can do so via our website right here.

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