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A Fast Preparation of Skeletal Materials Using Enzyme Maceration


  • Supported by the Research Council of the Danish Ministry of Culture through Grant TAKT2007-150.

Additional information and reprint requests:
Kim P. Simonsen, Ph.D.
The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
School of Conservation
Esplanaden 34
DK-1263 Copenhagen Ø


Abstract:  The current study investigates the removal of soft tissues from mice and rats by the use of three different proteases and one lipase from Novozymes A/S. The results demonstrate the enzyme maceration to be remarkably fast (1–3 h) compared to the traditional warm-water procedure, which requires up to several days. In addition, the enzyme maceration eliminates the odor problem associated with the traditional procedure. It is shown that stirring of the enzyme maceration bath is the main factor which determines the speed of the maceration. For mice, the time required for enzyme maceration can vary from 1 to 8 h depending on the stirring speed. The method investigated here allows preparation of skeletal material in an essentially odorless way within a matter of hours, making the method useful in particular for forensic science, private conservation workshops, and educational purposes.