From a method description in a Russian document:

After the chromatographic analysis is complete, the column is flushed with at least 2-3 volumes of water at a rate of 0.4 ml/min. The column is then mothballed (?) by washing it with at least 10-15 volumes of 20% alcohol at a rate slowly declining from 0.4 ml/min to 0 ml/min.

The word I translated as "mothballed" is konservirovat (консервировать колонку) in Russian. It has the general meaning of "preparing something for storage" (for instance, "preparing vegetables for storage by pickling").

In an effort to determine the correct terminology, I would like to know the reason why a chromatography column would be washed with 20% ethanol. Any recommendation on the standard biochemical terminology for this procedure, if it exists, would also be welcome.

  • $\begingroup$ You have accepted an answer (which alternative?) that allows you to do what I consider the wrong thing. The right thing would be not to try to translate but to explain what it is the 20% alcohol does. What does it do? Remove uneluted protein, prevent bacterial growth, or what? If you know, say, followed by "before storage". $\endgroup$ – David Feb 5 '17 at 22:50
  • $\begingroup$ @David thank you for the good advice, but I don't always have time to investigate the issue that deep when translating a large text. I write questions to the authors, but that takes some time too. $\endgroup$ – CopperKettle Feb 7 '17 at 6:56
  • $\begingroup$ @tomd Perhaps you can add this as an answer. $\endgroup$ – canadianer Apr 14 '17 at 19:38

Prepared or conditioned for storage would probably be perfectly acceptable.

If you're looking for a single-word equivalent, in this case, I would translate as stabilized. From dictionary.com:



verb (used with object), stabilized, stabilizing.

  1. to make or hold stable, firm, or steadfast.

This seems appropriate, since one wants to ensure maintenance of the proper condition of the column for later usage, when taken out of storage.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't like "stabilize" because it implies that the column is unstable otherwise, which it isn't. $\endgroup$ – David Feb 5 '17 at 22:46
  • $\begingroup$ @David <nod>, I'm not familiar with the technique in detail, so I'm poorly equipped to evaluate it from that perspective. Is it stable in storage without the ethanol washout procedure? $\endgroup$ – hBy2Py Feb 5 '17 at 22:56
  • $\begingroup$ I suspect it will either get clogged up or bacteria may grow on it, but I'm not sure. I don't think the beads will disintegrate though. $\endgroup$ – David Feb 5 '17 at 23:00
  • $\begingroup$ The ethanol is indeed to prevent microbial growth. $\endgroup$ – canadianer Feb 6 '17 at 23:03
  • $\begingroup$ @canadianer Hmm, so preserve might be better than stabilize? $\endgroup$ – hBy2Py Feb 7 '17 at 0:19

This is a routine procedure in FPLC to prepare columns for storage. 20% ethanol is used to prevent microbial growth. See this technical note:

All SEC columns are delivered in 20% ethanol to prevent microbial growth.

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  • $\begingroup$ I have always found it strange that we only use 20% ethanol, why not add 0.05% sodium azide for further protection as some microorganism will grow in 20% ethanol alone. $\endgroup$ – Jeppe Nielsen Apr 25 '17 at 0:00
  • $\begingroup$ @JeppeNielsen It's an interesting point which I don't have an answer to. I store gravity flow columns in sodium azide. $\endgroup$ – canadianer Apr 25 '17 at 22:11

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