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K-DES® Comparative Test to replace the Formaldehyde as it

avoids the decomposition and allows the preservation of organic
matter.

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- K-DES® has properties to replace the formaldehyde as it avoids the decomposition
and allows the preservation of organic matter, maintains organs and tissues in a
perfect state of preservation for at least 72 hours when immersed in a 3% or 5%
aqueous solution of this product.

- Rex 36, index 36, diluted to 10% (equivalent to a formaldehyde concentration of
more than 3.5%) has a preservative effect on the tissues. This is a well known fact
as this product is one of the most widely used in the North American undertaking
industry, which is the largest and most important market for embalming products.

- 3% and 5% solutions of K-DES® has properties to replace the formaldehyde as it
avoids the decomposition and allows the preservation of organic matter, as it allows
a rapid penetration of the product into the cell tissue due to the osmotic effect
produced as the water in the solution passes through the semi-permeable cell
membranes. This effect probably allows a better preservation of the tissue inside
the organ, although a further comparative study of the internal effect of these
solutions should be undertaken.

- K-DES® has properties to replace the formaldehyde as it avoids the decomposition
and allows the preservation of organic matter, as it keeps the tissues soft and in a
perfect state of preservation.

- Rex 36, index 36, preserves the tissues but causes them to contract and makes
them more rigid, but K-DES ® keeps its volume and keeps them flexible.

- A 3% or 5% solution of K-DES® does not produce harmful or unpleasant effects for
its handler or surrounding people.

- So we can say that K-DES® has all the properties to replace the formaldehyde as it
avoids the decomposition and allows the preservation of organic matter, adding into
it very important series of advantages.

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A Comparison
®
between K-DES
and Formalin

Performed between

February 1st and 4th 2008
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Preliminary comments regarding the Test ...................................................2

Object ...........................................................................................................2

Test Conditions.............................................................................................3

Day 0. Start – 01-02-2008 ................................................................................4

Just prior to the start of the test ....................................................................4

Start of the Test ............................................................................................5

Effects at the start of the test........................................................................7

Effects one hour into the test........................................................................9

Day 1 – 02-02-2008 ........................................................................................11

Effects 12 hours into the test ......................................................................11

Effects 24 hours into the test ......................................................................13

Day 2 – 03-02-2008 ........................................................................................15

Effects 36 hours into the test ......................................................................15

Effects 48 hours into the test ......................................................................17

Day 3 – 04-02-2008 ........................................................................................19

Effects 60 hours into the test ......................................................................19

Effects 72 hours into the test ......................................................................21

Conclusions...................................................................................................23
Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

Preliminary comments regarding the Test

Object

Previous studies have shown that K-DES® is an effective disinfectant at a concen-
tration of 25%. The objective of the present study, however, is first of all to demon-
strate that it is an effective preservative of organic matter at much lower
concentrations and, secondly, to perform a comparative study between K-DES® and
a well-known and effective commercial, formalin-based product. This study was per-
formed with different concentrations of K-DES® solution in order to determine the
concentration at which the product has the desired effect.

The formalin-based formula REX 36, index 36, is manufactured by the company Em-
balmers’ Supply Company, ESCO (US) and is one of the most widely used products
in the American undertaking market. The index 36 in its commercial name indicates
that the product has a formalin content of 36%. As this fluid should be used as a 10%
solution, the test solution has a formalin concentration of 3.6%.

The recommended retail price for K-DES® is €7.50 per litre whereas the retail price
of REX 36, index 36, is €3 per half litre (therefore the following calculations use a
price per litre of €6), plus the cost of postage from England.

The test was performed with pig kidneys due to their delicate nature and high de-
gree of vascularisation.

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

Test Conditions

The test was performed between February 1st and 4th 2008 at POMPAS FÚNE-
BRES DEL CONDADO, S.L., Ctra. Salvaterra, s/n, 36860 Ponteareas, Pontevedra.

The kidneys were placed in a plastic container in one of the rooms of this establish-
ment, covered completely with the test solution and any changes observed and as-
sessed.

As the formalin-based preparation emits a very penetrating smell that might have
affected the working of the establishment, it was decided to cover the containers
with a plastic cover from the very beginning in order to work under identical sealed
conditions, even though this precaution is not necessary for the samples treated
with K-DES®.

The different treatments were assessed by considering the colour and smell of the
samples, which, although this may appear to be subjective, is not so in this case due
to the very pronounced changes observed.

The observer who made the assessments is a reputable undertaker with many
years’ experience in the handling, treatment and preservation of tissue, which
means that he is well qualified to assess small changes in the evolution of the
treated tissue samples.

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

Day 0. Start – 01-02-2008

Just prior to the start of the test

We can see here the three kidneys just prior to adding the preservative solution:

SAMPLE A

SAMPLE B

SAMPLE C

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

The three test solutions were then prepared:

A – A 3% aqueous solution of K-DES®.

B – A 5% aqueous solution of K-DES®.

C – A 10% aqueous solution of REX 36, index 36.

Start of the Test

COMMENTS

K-DES® is a fast-acting, transparent, non-crystalline product with a characteristic
smell, which means that treated samples can easily and accurately be distinguished
from untreated samples.

The 3% K-DES® solution is very
clear and transparent, the 5% solu-
tion is less transparent and the for-
malin-based solution contains a
dye.

The three pig kidneys selected at the start of the study were classified as follows:

Sample A, with no previous treatment, was placed into the container containing the 3%
K-DES® solution and more solution added until the sample was completely covered.

Sample B, with no previous treatment, was placed into the container containing the 5%
K-DES® solution and more solution added until the sample was completely covered.

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

Sample C, with no previous treatment, was placed into the container containing a
10% solution of the formalin-based product, in other words a solution with a formalin
content of 3.6%, and more solution added until the sample was completely covered.

The mean temperature of the testing room at the start of the test was 15 °C.

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

Effects at the start of the test

The first observation was made on February 1st at 21:10.

SAMPLE A

Comments: The sample is crystal-
line and transparent.

Smell: Slight smell of K-DES®.

Colour of the treated tissue: Dark
pink.

SAMPLE B

Comments: The solution is whitish
and poorly transparent.

Smell: Slight smell of K-DES®.

Colour of the treated tissue: Dark
pink.

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

SAMPLE C

Comments: The solution is pinkish
and its fumes are immediately no-
ticeable, producing irritation in the
airways and eyes of the observer.

Smell: Strong and unpleasant,
causes irritation.

Colour of the treated tissue: Dark
pink.

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

Effects one hour into the test

The second observation was made on February 1st at 22:10, one hour after starting
the test.

SAMPLE A

Comments: A clear colour loss and
fixation of the sample is observed.

Smell: Slight smell of K-DES®.

Colour of the treated tissue: Grey.

SAMPLE B

Comments: The solution has become
more opaque, which makes determina-
tion of the state of the tissue more dif-
ficult.

Smell: Slight smell of K-DES®.

Colour of the treated tissue: Grey.

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

SAMPLE C

Comments: The colour of the sample
has also faded, although the dye in the
product minimises this change.

Smell: Strong and unpleasant, causes
irritation.

Colour of the treated tissue: Pink.

The difference between the samples can clearly be seen. Sample A is more wrin-
kled than the other two samples.

Sample B is smoother.

Sample C is less wrinkled than sample A and is pinker, although this could be due to
the dye in the product rather than the action of formalin itself. Even though this sam-
ple contains only a small amount of formalin its fumes are very unpleasant and pro-
duce irritation in the nose and eyes.

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

Day 1 – 02-02-2008

Effects 12 hours into the test

The following photographs were taken at 10:10 on February 2nd.

SAMPLE A

Comments: An important change is
observed: The sample has increased
in size and the volume of liquid has
dropped due to absorption into the
sample. The sample is noticeably
spongy to the touch.

Smell: Slight smell of K-DES®.

Colour of the treated tissue: Light
grey.

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

SAMPLE B

Comments: The sample was re-
moved from the liquid for observation
due to the liquid’s opacity. A loss of
colour can be seen along with a cor-
rect preservation of the tissue, al-
though its more wrinkled appearance
seems to indicate that the solution
has not penetrated to as great an
extent as with sample A. It is also
spongy to the touch, although less so
than sample A.

Smell: Slight smell of K-DES®.

Colour of the treated tissue: Grey.

SAMPLE C

Comments: The colour of the sam-
ple has also faded, although the dye
in the product minimises this change.

Smell: Strong and unpleasant,
causes irritation.

Colour of the treated tissue: Pink.

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

Effects 24 hours into the test

The following photographs were taken at 22:10 on February 2nd.

SAMPLE A

Comments: First of all it can be
seen that the solution has darkened,
although both its smell and colour
indicate no loss of efficacy as both
parameters remain identical to those
observed previously.

Another important change is that the
sample has increased in size, which
indicates that the solution has pene-
trated the tissues. The sample is still
noticeably spongy to the touch.

Smell: Slight smell of K-DES®.

Colour of the treated tissue: Light
grey.

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

SAMPLE B

Comments: Although this sample is
more wrinkled than the previous one,
it is more swollen than 12 hours pre-
viously, which indicates that the tis-
sues have continued to absorb
solution. It is also spongy to the
touch.

Smell: Slight smell of K-DES®.

Colour of the treated tissue: Grey.

SAMPLE C

Comments: The sample maintains a
light pink colour due to the dye. In
light of its state of preservation, it is
clear that there is some fixation of
the solution, although this process is
slower and has occurred to a lesser
degree than in the other samples.
This sample is also harder due to the
astringent nature of formalin.

Smell: Unpleasant, still produces
irritation.

Colour of the treated tissue: Pink.

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

Day 2 – 03-02-2008

Effects 36 hours into the test

The following photographs were taken at 10:10 on February 3rd.

SAMPLE A

Comments: The solution is even
darker due to the higher concentra-
tion of K-DES® and because the lar-
ger amount of water absorbed has
forced the organic residues to the
outside of the sample; the preserva-
tion remains good, however, and its
size has again increased due to a
greater absorption of the solution.

Smell: Slight smell of K-DES®.

Colour of the treated tissue:
Lighter grey.

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

SAMPLE B

Comments: The size and preserva-
tion of the sample remain the same.
The remaining solution is more
opaque.

Smell: Slight smell of K-DES®.

Colour of the treated tissue: Grey.

SAMPLE C

Comments: At first sight there are
no obvious changes in the sample,
except that the solution is also darker
and the tissues appear to be more
rigid.

Smell: Strong and unpleasant,
causes irritation.

Colour of the treated tissue: Pink.

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

Effects 48 hours into the test

The following photographs were taken at 22:10 on February 3rd.

SAMPLE A

Comments: At first sight there are
no changes. The pinkish region on
top is the part that is no longer sub-
merged in the liquid as absorption
into the tissues has increased the
size of the sample such that it pro-
trudes above the surface of the solu-
tion. The sample remains in a good
state of preservation.

Smell: Slight smell of K-DES®.

Colour of the treated tissue: Even
lighter grey.

SAMPLE B

Comments: The size is the same
and its colour is lighter, although still
darker than the previous sample.

Smell: Slight smell of K-DES®.

Colour of the treated tissue: Grey.

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

SAMPLE C

Comments: There are no obvious
changes in the sample, except that
the solution is also darker.

Smell: Much less unpleasant.

Colour of the treated tissue: Pink.

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

Day 3 – 04-02-2008

Effects 60 hours into the test

The following photographs were taken at 10:10 on February 4th.

SAMPLE A

Comments: No important changes
can be seen. The preservation ap-
pears to be very good as this sample
is bigger than the others and there
are no signs of putrefaction.

Smell: Slight smell of K-DES®.

Colour of the treated tissue:
Lighter grey.

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

SAMPLE B

Comments: The preservation is
good although absorption of the solu-
tion by the tissues appears to be
lesser.

Smell: Slight smell of K-DES®.

Colour of the treated tissue: Grey.

SAMPLE C

Comments: There are no obvious
changes, apart from the remaining
solution being darker, although the
tissues appear to be more rigid.

Smell: Mild.

Colour of the treated tissue: Pink.

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

Effects 72 hours into the test

The following photographs were taken at 22:10 on February 4th.

SAMPLE A

Comments: At first sight there are
no changes. The pinkish region on
top is the part that is no longer sub-
merged, although the sample re-
mains in a good state of
preservation.

Smell: Slight smell of K-DES®.

Colour of the treated tissue: Even
lighter grey.

SAMPLE B

Comments: No major changes can
be seen. The preservation is good.

Smell: Slight smell of K-DES®.

Colour of the treated tissue: Grey.

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

SAMPLE C

Comments: There are no obvious
changes in the sample, except that
the solution is darker.

Smell: Much less unpleasant.

Colour of the treated tissue: Pink.

As no further changes appeared to be occurring the test was stopped after 72 hours
even though the three samples were still in a perfect state of preservation.

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

Conclusions

- K-DES® maintains organs and tissues in a perfect state of preservation for at
least 72 hours when immersed in a 3% or 5% aqueous solution of this prod-
uct.

- Rex 36, index 36, diluted to 10% (equivalent to a formalin concentration of
more than 3.5%) has a preservative effect on the tissues. This is a well
known fact as this product is one of the most widely used in the North Ameri-
can undertaking industry, which is the largest and most important market for
embalming products.

- 3% and 5% solutions of K-DES® allow a rapid penetration of the product into
the cell tissue due to the osmotic effect produced as the water in the solution
passes through the semi-permeable cell membranes. This effect probably al-
lows a better preservation of the tissue inside the organ, although a further
comparative study of the internal effect of these solutions should be under-
taken.

- K-DES® keeps the tissues soft and in a perfect state of preservation.

- Rex 36, index 36, on the other hand, preserves the tissues but causes them
to contract and makes them more rigid.

- A 3% or 5% solution of K-DES® does not produce harmful or unpleasant ef-
fects for its handler or surrounding people.

- A 10% solution of Rex 36, index 36, has an irritating and unpleasant effect
on the upper airways and eyes due to the fumes it gives off. This means that
people handling it should work with the appropriate safety measures (gloves,
safety glasses and face mask), with all their inconvenience and discomfort,
which often means that they disregard this advice, to avoid the inherent
work-related risks.

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Comparison between K-DES® and Formalin

- Rex 36, index 36, stains the sample due to the dye included in the formula-
tion.

- The solutions of K-DES® used bleach the sample as they contain no dye, al-
though one could be included if necessary.

- If we suppose that one litre of preserving solution was used in each con-
tainer, we can make the following calculation:

TEST SOLUTION COST OF PRODUCT USED

3% K-DES® €0.225

5% K-DES® €0.375

10% Rex 36, index 36 €0.601

In light of the results obtained, we can conclude that the use of a 3% K-DES®
solution is optimal for the correct preservation of organic matter and is com-
parable to the recommended dose of formalin (3.6%), although some 62.5%
cheaper.

1
This figure does not take into account the cost of transporting the product from England to
Spain.

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