Worm Breeder's Gazette 1(2): 9b
These abstracts should not be cited in bibliographies. Material contained herein should be treated as personal communication and should be cited as such only with the consent of the author.
Several nematode species can survive dehydration in the wild and in the laboratory. A reliable method of dehydrating and resuscitating C. elegans would be useful for shipping worms in letters (see Edgar's note in vol. 1, No. 1 of the Newsletter) and might be an alternative to liquid nitrogen storage of mutant strains. The following technique has been successful in Boulder (a very dry place). A stack of 5-10 circles of Whatman #l filter paper are placed in a plastic petri dish and saturated with Hershey broth obtained from the nearest phage lab. Worms from a starved plate are suspended in Hershey broth and dripped onto each circle to make a sandwich. The plate is closed and placed in 16 C incubator. Complete drying takes about a week. Worms are revived by placing a filter paper from the sandwich on an agar plate with a few drops of E. coli, incubating overnight, and then washing the worms off the paper with buffer. I have obtained 20-40% survival of N2 worms stored in the 16 C incubator for a month using this method. Survival is 10- to 100-fold lower if M9 salts, 80% Ascaris Ringer's, or S medium is substituted for the Hershey broth. Survival of worms dried from broth is decreased by more than 100-fold by overnight storage in a vacuum dessicator over CaSO , suggesting that the Hershey broth may act by preventing complete drying. The survivors are principally dauer larvae and L1's that hatch inside of adult hermaphrodites during the drying process. Both male and hermaphrodite dauer larvae appear to be normally fertile following rehydration and maturation.