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Re: Sterilize Azolla?

Walter B. Klockers asks:
> Is it safe to sterilize Azolla using potassium permanganate, or will
> the symbiotic nitrogen fixing organisms (Anabaena azollae) be harmed?

Why do you want to fix nitrogen Walter? Is this for your aquarium? What
are you after in sterilizing the Azolla? If you are performing lab
experiments, perhaps you want to grow tissue samples in sterile nutrient
media. I believe the standard method involves treatment with a sodium
hypo chlorite solution and preparation of several tissue samples in
petri dishes.

If you want to kill filamentous green algae to avoid their introduction
into your aquarium, I only know of the Krombholz bleach treatment for
this purpose. If you want to pioneer a different chemical for this
purpose, you'll need to prepare a series of tests using a range of
algae, solution strengths and treatment times such as Paul Krombholz did
in developing the bleach treatment. 

I have heard of potassium permanganate as a treatment for snails and
snail spawn but discussions on that method have not been very fruitful.
Potassium permanganate is not readily available due to its explosive
properties and its usefulness for detonation devices. Take a look at the
aquatic plant digest archives at
http://www.actwin.com/fish/aquatic-plants/index.cgi and search for
permanganate. Not sure if its mentioned in the aquaria FAQ pages or the

As to whether Anabaena azollae would be harmed, I think this depends on
if they are growing inside the tissues of the Azolla. I suspect this may
be the case if they exist symbiotically such as is the case with

Steve in windy rainy Vancouver where El Ninyo is setting record high
winter temperatures in the Canadian prairies and wrecking the skiing
conditions. George, how is the skiing where you live?