Humectants are an important class of compounds that attract and retain water within a cell. These substances are commonly used in skincare products to prevent the outer layers of the skin from drying out. Humectants also serve a similar purpose in tissue preservation and prevention of decomposition of cadaveric specimens. As there have been few comparative studies analyzing the effects of different chemicals on the preservation of cadaveric tissue, we designed an assay consisting of wet-dry analysis to compare the effects of three common humectants (glycerol, propylene glycol, and ethylene glycol) on water retention in skeletal muscle tissue. We submerged equally sized sections of human skeletal muscle tissue in differing concentrations of each of the three humectants for 24 hours. Subsequently, we placed the tissues in an incubator at 60°C weighing the tissue after 12 hours. Finally, we calculated the percent difference between the original tissue mass and the tissue mass after drying in the incubator. We created a concentration gradient for each humectant to identify the optimal concentration of each compound for water absorption and retention in the tissue. We then performed a second set of experiments to compare the ideal concentrations of the humectants under the same conditions. With our preliminary experiments we found that tissue submerged in 15% volume/volume propylene glycol absorbed and retained the most moisture. We plan to carry out similar studies centered around other human tissues to create a tissue library as well as to provide an evidence-based standard for wetting solutions used in anatomy labs.
University / Institution: Brigham Young University
Format: In Person
SESSION D (3:30-5:00PM)
Area of Research: Health & Medicine
Faculty Mentor: Jason Adams