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Making your first slide

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Using FRUCTOSE SUGAR as a mountant
This is our magic ingredient which helps to make slide-making more accessible to younger people or, in fact, even to long-standing Microscopists. We are going to make up a stock solution ready to use for making loads of slides. Remember though that because we are going to make slides using a SAFE method, we are going to skip a couple of important processes which would require the use of chemicals not quite as safe to use for youngsters. This will mean that some specimens will not be perfectly mounted for absolute clear 'viewing'- but we should end up with slides acceptable to the beginner, who may then wish to move on and adopt the processes omitted here to refine his or her future slides!

Pour some Frutose sugar into a clean dry glass jar. Ideally, you want to fill the jar two thirds up to the top. Pack the sugar down so it is firmly taking up the space in the lower part of the jar. Take a pencil or felt-tipped pen and mark the level of the sugar in the jar. You do this by drawing a small dash on the outside of the jar exactly where the top of the sugar reaches to.

Gently pour some de-ionised water into the jar. The sugar is very soluble and will start to dissolve immediately causing the level to drop. You must keep adding water to maintain the level to your original mark. When most of the sugar seems to have dissolved, you will notice the liquid is not yet clear because it retains crystals of Fructose which still have not dissolved. Put the cap back on the jar and leave it in a safe warm place overnight. This will allow time for all the sugar to dissolve and you should end up with a nice clear liquid.

This is how it should look when you put it away for the night!

This is how it should look when you fetch it out in the morning!

Important extra step!

You can use the Fructose in this strength (as mixed above) but I have found it easier to mount the specimens I've done so far in a slightly weaker solution. Some things tend to 'float' on top of the thicker solution and if you end up getting air bubbles in the drop you use on the slide, they are more difficult to get out.

I recommend you: add more water to the solution at this stage to raise the level to half way betwen your mark and the top of the jar! Put the cap back on firmly and turn the jar upside down and then right way up a few times to gently merge the water with the syrupy solution. Leave for a few hours before using it to ensure the sugar stock 'thins' out throughout the jar.

When you have a ready supply of Fructose Mountant, and all the other materials ready to hand, we'll move on to make the slide!

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