Novel formaldehyde-free embalming fluid formulation for long-term preservation of cadavers for anatomy teaching

Preetha Menon, Adnan Aldarwich, Layaly Hamdan, Maha Hammoud, Ahmad Al Aiyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dissection of mammalian cadavers enables veterinary students to appreciate the three-dimensional relationships of these specimens. Chemically fixed cadavers are generally used for dissections owing to the impracticality of using fresh specimens in most teaching facilities. The aim of this study was to evaluate a novel embalming fluid formulation comprising 25% ethanol, 20% polyethylene glycol 400, 0.1% chloroxylenol, and 10% sodium nitrate made up to 100% with tap water to fix a series of domestic mammals for anatomical dissection. The embalmed cadavers (two cats, two dogs, two goats, and two sheep) were periodically evaluated over a 6-month period. At 1, 10, and 20 weeks of the dissection program, the cadavers were colorimetrically measured and the texture profiles, including hardness, adhesiveness, and deformation, were examined. In addition, tissue samples of the skeletal muscle, liver, lung, and intestine were collected and microbiologically analyzed at various time intervals. The embalmed cadavers closely resembled their fresh counterparts. There was negligible difference in the objective and subjective parameters, with a gradual increase in the hardness and adhesiveness of the muscle samples with time. No microbiological growth was detected in the tissue samples obtained from the embalmed specimens, except in the colon tissue from one cat and lung tissue from one sheep. These findings demonstrated the successful preservation of cadavers in the novel embalming formulation for a period of 6 months. The subjective evaluations during dissection were harmonious with the objective assessments of the embalmed cadaver.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)718-725
Number of pages8
JournalEmirates Journal of Food and Agriculture
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Anatomy
  • Colorimeter
  • Dissection
  • Embalming
  • Formaldehyde
  • Texture analyzer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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