What is it about?
A quick method to extract venom from arthropods with high purity and efficiency is presented. Materials needed: venomous insects; tweezers; centrifuge tubes; glass wool or some very fine mesh; a centrifuge. Procedure: (i) Dissect out the insect body part containing the venom gland and stinger, dry, on a glass. (ii) Accumulate those on the fine mesh or wool, and place it into the centrifuge tubes. (iii) Centrifuge the tubes up to 3-5k g. (iv) Carefully remove the body parts from the tubes, and (v) find the liquid venom collected at the bottom of the tubes. The method is so simple and straightforward I am surprised nobody had described or claimed it before. WARNING: Venoms are *dangerous* biological samples and thus should be handled by **responsible adults**. Not to be used illegally or in any otherwise destructive way.
Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash
Why is it important?
Arthropod venoms are invaluable sources of natural active substances. Research in this field has been greatly delayed by the difficulties involved in obtaining venom is quantities large enough for bioassays. Also, many venom extraction methods for smaller insects (e.g. ants) involve solvents, which will inevitably dramatically change the biochemical composition of venom. This is directly demonstrated in this paper with the fire ants, wherein the new method of venom extraction reveals novel components previously overlooked by studies relying on cruder extraction by dipping in organic solvents.
Read the Original
This page is a summary of: Speedy milking of fresh venom from aculeate hymenopterans, Toxicon, May 2018, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2018.02.050.
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Everything you need to understand this method
Contains pictures of venom extraction materials, of the extracted insects, of the venom extraction results. Also adds details on the contributions of every author, peer review, taxonomical resources. Contains original raw chromatograms for those interested in the obtained venom profiles! As said: all you need, and more.
Another method for fire ant venom extraction (of fractions, involving solvents).
This is another related publication in Toxicon "A simple, rapid method for the extraction of whole fire ant venom (Insecta: Formicidae: Solenopsis)", discussed elsewhere. I have devised this other venom extraction method during my PhD, relying on solvent extraction to force live ants to spill out their venom proteins. I recommend reading it if you're particularly interested in protein toxins, in fire ants.
Chemical Biology of Ant Venoms (Project Outline at ResearchGate)
A centralised summary of my line of research on zoochemistry of ant venoms , hosted in ResearchGate network. I keep it updated in references and publications, and slowly add further resources. Stay tuned!
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