Use of different SEM techniques in the study of Tyrophagus putrescentiae (Acari: Acaridae) in Costa Rica

Pamela Murillo, Hugo Aguilar, Ethel Sanchez


Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) has been used as a tool to facilitate the morphological description of mites and to complement the information obtained from the light microscope. Unfortunately, several of SEM techniques used for soft-bodied mites such as Tyrophagus, have in many cases not shown the desired results. This investigation sought to develop an efficient procedure for preparing specimens of T. putrescentiae for SEM so that its major morphological characters could be observed and photographed. This species is the most important contaminant of tissue culture laboratories in Costa Rica. Seven methods were used to process the samples. The evaluated treatments showed differences in their ability to preserve the morphological structures of the specimens. The advantages and disadvantages of each treatment are discussed.  Mites processed using ethanol were the most viable option with method 3 being the procedure that showed the best results; this technique also reduced the time and costs of processing the specimens.


Acari, Acaridae, Tyrophagus putrescentiae, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), SEM techniques

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