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Normalized absorption spectra of two different batches of glutaraldehyde in distilled water. The continuous line shows predominantly the monomer peak, whereas the highest band of the dashed line represents the polymers.

  • 280 nm (monomer) the EMgrade quality , and
  • 235 nm (polymer)
  • glutaraldehyde monomers allow it to be effective by polymerizing to fix cellular molecular structures through a cross-linking process
  • the polymerized form of glutaraldehyde detected at the peak 235 nm is ineffective for fixation
  • in our solution of glutaraldehyde both forms exist but for efficiency for EM grade electron microscopy the ratio must be largely in favor of the unpolymerized form (peak 280 nm)