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Pharma

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  1. Pharma

    Roaches Of Africa

    Isn't Madagascar part of the african continent (by convention)? OK, geologically seen it would rather be Asia and 'biologically/evolutionary' it'll be its own continent... And don't you offend my O. deusta! I can't beliefe them being rare as they have an enormous reproduction rate! Got about 2'000 a month or two ago and now heading towards 3'000 by guess... so measured by stock volume they are my dominant species (and I have to be nice to them not that they annex my flat when I'm asleep ). GREAT little feeding critters, about the same size than domestic crickets but a lot better in everything! My dogs, lizzards, hamsters and the mouse strongly recommend this species!! Oh, and small size has its advantages too... it's easier to smuggle them over the US border... (na, just joking!)
  2. Pharma

    Keeping them warm...

    There is something called "heat pad".... no light, no radiation*, only heat where you need it. *Heat is transduced mainly by conduction (if that's the correct english formulation) makeing it quite efficient in comparison to light bulbs I think...
  3. Pharma

    making your own water crystals?

    Well: you guessed wrong. It's true that in the body glycerol is mainly bound to fatty acids (or vice versa) but it can easily be metabolized (actually is) by higher organisms and bacteria. Phytopharmacy in one sentence is the science investigating the pharmaceutical use, mode of action and active constituents of plants. @Hibiscusmile: Well, it's not just a mOld inhibitor but a mIld one with a small spectrum of action mainly agains yeasts and some other fungy I think... It works better agains bacteria as free acid (by reducing the pH). But IF one really needs a preservative it's at least better (cause of other reasons) than arteficial compounds like "formaline releasers", halogenated compounds or antibiotics.
  4. Pharma

    Roaches Of Africa

    Hi you two @Orin: You forgot one of the best known genus: all HISSERS (Gromphadorhini)! And Nauphoeta cinerea, Oxyhaloa deusta.... @TCLB: From where over the sea? If you mean Germany: Who is it, maybe I know him... and if it's Africa: BE EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS, the "Nigeria Connection" is quite active in faked herp-trades!!! Never pay in advance or by PayPal or similar otherwise you might (better: will for sure) never see nor money nor pets! ALWAYS talk to the people and ask highly specific as well as completely silly questions to figure out whether the trader is serious and stop the contact at the slightest impression of irreguliarities! The good thing with Europe is, that many roaches cost a tenth of what they do in the States. I already thought that I might get rich with oversee deals BUT there is a bad thing: there seem to be laws in the US regulating (prohibiting) the import of insects. Orin for sure can explain that to you in detail. Uhh, what are "T's" and what means "leary" (Sorry, my english isn't that great and the only leary I know is Timothy Leary... )??? Good luck! Andreas
  5. Pharma

    Tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta)

    Hi lele Thanks a lot! This guy does no more work in the group in Marburg but I contacted one of the group and got a positive answer hours later!! Well, thats for the good part of the story... The bad (VERY BAD) thing is, that M. sexta needs to be kept in an underpressure ventillated or specially air-filtered room because the small wing-scales are strong allergenes causing for sure hayfever symptoms sooner than later. At least the guy working with them has never heard of any group without that problem (and that's the reason why research labs keep M. sexta always in special rooms). I could try to keep them on the balcony during summer, but that's not a good option for me. I think I'll have to wait until we have a bigger flat where I can set up my own isolated critter room... Besides: The guy told me that they are easy to rear in comparison to other sphingidae but it seems to be quite an effort, far from what we're used from roaches. But that's more a challenge than a hindrance except for that allergy-thing. Grüessli Andreas P.S. You know Jan personally? How comes, he's from germany and your not (or does NH mean Kreis Neuhaus and not the state)? I,ve seen that you keep saturniids: Did you ever had problems with the scales or is it unique to Manduca?
  6. Pharma

    Why, and do they exist?

    I forgot to mention the tree of life (well, it does only contain the genus, but it's a great tool I think)! http://tolweb.org/tree/ @BP: OK, I misunderstood that. So than, your both right (unfortunately)...
  7. Pharma

    making your own water crystals?

    Yes, glycerol will be metabolized BUT only upon consumption by roaches. At concentrations of 20-30% it will suppress bacterial growth. This effect is often used in liquid and semisolid pharmaceutical preparations (like syrups or creams). I don't know the mechanism behind, could have to do with osmotic pressure and/or membrane interfering effects... I am pharmacist by training (studied 5 years, may be different in the USA where you have those 'strange' drug stores... ) and currently struggling with the last experiments for my PhD in phytopharmacy. Where I'd get the canning sugar: Next super market lower left shelf in the second corridor, right between the agar and the cornstarch. Preparation according to the instruction on the back side of the pack...
  8. Pharma

    making your own water crystals?

    Not really cause it's not sucrose but a polymer of galacturonic acid (so called pectin). Besides: This has the advantage to bind cations e.g. iron and calcium. Therefor citric acid can be omitted and reptile keepers could easily include a lot of calcium without flocculation. This polyglycoside is a natural compound similar to agar, alginate, or carrageenan but origins of higher plants and not algae and in contrast to agar it can/will be degraded by bacteria. Nevertheless its better than gelatine which is a protein mixture containig much more impurities favoring (or as you say "stimulating") bacterial growth. This polyglycosides are usually quite pure (in terms of non-polyglycosides) having a low susceptibility to bacterial growth and will be degraded only if combined with other microbial nurishment. I'm not an "organic food junkie" but I prefer natural stuff as nourishment for me and my pets. Therefore I'd use agar in the first place or alternatively preserved* canning sugar instead of polyacrylate gels. *Sure, parabens aren't true natural compounds but will be degraded to that and as I work in a lab and a pharmacy I have nearly free access to a lot of other chemicals like sorbic acid etc. Cave: Use 'low-ester pectins' (pectate or pectic acid) and not 'high-ester pectins' (pectinate) because the later is a less potent gelatinizing agent and will require additional sugar and some acid. In case someone is interested in 'kitchen-chemistry-research' (my muse just kissed me...): I suppose that one could (or better should ) try to make gels containing glycerol. (Why didn't that came to my mind earlier?) This should work well with canning sugar and gelatine giving digestible energy-rich self-preserving gels at a concentration of 20-30% (expiry date > 3 month). Vel Spass! Andreas
  9. Pharma

    making your own water crystals?

    Thanks for the flowers, skips! I didn't heard of any problems too but rationality tells me* not to risk it (especially because roaches have a quite 'degrades-all-digestion' and I use mine as beardy food). *There has to be a reason why polyacrylate is prohibited as human food additive... One could be that the used base for gelatinization was (and sometimes still is) the not-so harmless triethylamine or other amines. In what kind of lab do you work if they can't afford to give away a few milligramms of citric acid? Besides: Methyl paraben will be degraded by the roaches and their intestinal flora to PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid) which can then be used by intestinal bacteria to synthetise folic acid. Therefore that chemical should be harmless and is frequently used with success by poison dart frog keepers to prevent the drosophila culture media from rotting/fermentation. Maybe one could use canning sugar as water crystals?
  10. Pharma

    Tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta)

    @Zephyr: Thought so too but unfortunately it's not... @Orin: That would be great! @Peter: Thanks! I'll check if they deliver to Switzerland @Keith: Well, I already know that they accumulate nicotine as a powerful defense mechanism but thanks anyway for that info! Because the only tobacco easily available here around is in the form of cigarettes and tomatos don't grow that good on my balcony (especially not in winter ) I'm forced to feed them the artificial stuff (they seem to eat some grain sprouts too). : Well, I nearly tried to but due to the fact that they don't exist in Central Europe I consider that attempt as quite fruitless... I first thought about a deal: Roaches for hornworm eggs (especially because here around roaches cost about a tenth than yours and the wild collected eggs are for free making it a deal good for you and good for me). But I've been told that your law seems to be quite restrictive and so I don't think that anyone of you guys would risk to export a potential pest insect and import another one... (That'll be a deal bad for you and bad for you, wouldn't it?) Grüessli Andreas
  11. Pharma

    Tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta)

    Regulations in Switzerland: No obvious ones... they say one needs to fill in a form (for all sorts of phytophage and feeding insects and such for terrarias) and give them infos about the species, its pest potential and so on (well... if I have to inform them on that point...)! M. sexta would not survive here I guess. Really problematic animals should be mentioned somewhere by name but M. sexta isn't one of them. Besides: They are so careless at the duty and just do something if you declare the package correctly (that meas: wasting time until the pets die). First I don't care that much on what people think of my hobbies (couldn't swallow that much Prozac) and second if people don't know that I have them... Or if they do they would recognize them as beautiful butterflies being much better than all my roaches... see? So it's theoretically no problem on my side of the big lake...
  12. Pharma

    Argh! Flies!

    Huuu... do you have some pics? IF it is Megaselia scalaris (a asian species which spread over the world) you have a problem. How to get rid of them: Ever heard of Flypaper? There are other small flies too which dwell in wet soil and feed of organic mater (e.g. food, leaves & dead roaches) like Drosophila melanogaster or the Sciaridae spp. They are easy to avoid: keep roaches dry, avoid excessiv wet/fresh food (or add some woodlice to the culture), and remove dead roaches. Grüessli Andreas
  13. Pharma

    Why, and do they exist?

    Hi Matt Uhhh... your example of a 'single species genus' actually is a bad one (14 Blaptica species!) But your web link seems to be the best concerning roaches. My contribution to web species lists: - http://data.gbif.org (3 Blaptica sp.) - http://www.itis.gov (0 hits) - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Taxonomy (only B. dubia) - http://www.reptile-database.org (only for snakes, lizzards etc.) Grüessli Andreas P.S. Want some G. oblongata nymphs for 25 Cents or E. chopardi for 2$ per pair ?
  14. Pharma

    making your own water crystals?

    Why don't you just take an apple? Here around one can get pure agar at regular stores/markets and gelatinizing agent (I don't know who the heck likes its vanilla pudding with an agar-plate consistency... ) or at the pharmacy as dietary supplement (to reduce food intake by an altered ingested 'empty' volume or as a deterrent? ).
  15. Pharma

    Evolution vs. Creation

    Hi Zephyr I think you mix something up. I don't want to convince you of someting, I just do some thinking (I have a boring night-shift at the moment). There are 3 dimensions in which we (as matter) physically are but these aren't enough to describe the existence of life or energy in that room. Therefore the fourth dimension TIME has been introduced which isn't spatial anymore. In mathematics a dimension is a direction (a vector) perpendicular to another (all others). Mathematically there are infinete amounts of dimensions with which one (not me, THAT was the only thing in maths where I was a nut) can easily do calculations (even building a house in 6D ). But this additional dimensions can't be visualized or sketched and they don't include time nor life. Your additional dimensions therefore can't (in that theoretically proven sense) be an explanation for gods. And the additional dimensions have nothing to do with "the beginning" (some scientists "believe" it was the Big Bang), because this was the beginning of the 4 dimensions (at least OUR 4-D's). Only because the possibility of the existance of something doesn't mean that it really has to exist. By the way: If one wants to prove god or similar "things" one has to know the definition of it and I think every single person would define those different. A proof of existance wouldn't change belief/religion as long as there is no proof of "its" deeds. Well, lets assume that there are a few more spatial dimensions and in No. 16 to 23 some kind of life form or energy exists. If "they" don't possess the ability to interact with ours (as we don't with theirs) would it be of any sense for us that they exist? No! So forget them! If they do, well... OK... We can show that their "room" could be possible but we still can't influence them (at least not in a way in which we could know that it works). So why believe in them? What if there are more dimensions which aren't nor room nor time but something else? That would maybe explain miracles, paranormal phenomena and stuff like that but here we can't prove the existance of this sort of dimensions. Either we are to stupide for that or they really don't exist (which would be a pitty). I like the idea because this dimensions could be accessible for us (not as scientists but as human beings). If someone knows how to use or manipulate such a dimension (by lets say levitation or walking over water) would it be necessary to scientifically prove that dimension to let that person fly or water-walk? NO! The only thing now would be to believe in this dimensions. I think the persons using it KNOWS it and those who can't "see/prove" it would (even if believing in it) still be excluded from it. So belief is in vain (or not?). Either know or let go... It would be OK to "believe" in what that particularly skilled person says about this dimension. But to be honest it would be enough to just trust him/her and try to care for him/her to prevent him/her of getting a megalomaniac. If in this non-physical dimensions other "beings" exist, they might be gods but does that mean that they were involved in creation? I think in that case they would be as dependant on "the system" as we are and if interaction would be possible they would be influenced by evolution too. Could their influence be so strong to influence our evolution and wouldn't it then be not creation but evolution again just in more dimensions ? If their dimensions began with ours "who" then decided to "start" our dimensions and/or life? Questions which don't let some people sleep and for which they need an answer (namely god). I stay fine without knowing and I'm fine with the idea that there might be something which from time to time manipulates our existence but I don't believe in it. Even if it will be proven in the future it wouldn't change anything cause the influences would be the same (too weak for a good/bad god)! I accept "occurances" which can't be explained rationally but I let them be unexplained. Maybe the fact that H. sapiens is to stupid to see the truth is THE answer for me? Besides: WHAT IS E8??? Just know G20 ... Grüessli Andreas P.S. Should there really be a rational/scientific proof of a superior power? If one can proof such a force (being notably able of interactions with us and therefore "within reach") wouldn't it then be possible to (mis-)use it too? And how should one prove that such a superiority has a will (only with a will it is more than just a part of the environment and therefore of evolution) when we can't even prove that animals have a will and the will of a human beings is only accepted as proven by reason and subjective impression and not by objective hard science.
  16. Pharma

    Gyna lurida

    Hi I do have some G. lurida too but just one shows some yellow up till now... never THAT bright! Is there any "trick" to enhance the yellow? As far as I know the color is genetically variable and seems to be coincidental with some lines tending to a certain color but never exclusively showing just a single one. Therefore I suppose that color is somehow environment dependant. I'm wondering if the environment could be "adjusted" to preferably "yellow"... Grüessli Andreas
  17. Pharma

    What's this Cricket's name?

    Hi Ralph Either I don't understand what you mean (case of my lack of sufficient English knowledge) or I have to contradict. Gryllus assimilis often has those white spots too but is more brown in apperance (being partially black though) while G. bimaculatus looks black to deep dark brown (abdomen, legs & wings). The spec. from Grigfarm is a non-determined species believed to be G. assimilis and therefore marketed as such by other breeders or they really sell G. assimilis which look really the same on pics. If the cricket from the first post is from Europe it is most likely G. assimilis or the species known by that name. If it is from the US or Asia... well... I suppose Gryllus sp. as "name" has to be enough (but it is for sure not the two-spotted). I agree with you that the crickets from the second post may be (or most likely are) another species (you are from Amerika and for sure now your species better than I do). I just mean, that those look similar to G. bimaculatus (just lacking the white spots). Grüessli Andreas
  18. Pharma

    Sali zäme

    Hi It's the one HERE. Named as Eublaberus spec.
  19. Pharma

    Sali zäme

    Hi Community I finally found my way over the big lake... My name is Andreas, I'm happily married, pharmacist by training and fighting with my PhD, and (I guess its written in the signature) live in Winterthur in Switzerland. For those who don't know what that is: Click me! I started to keep roaches as a much better alternative to crickets (after an invasion I started to hate this critters) as food for my bearded dragons, centipedes, and occasional for the dogs (2 Yorkies, 1 Toypoodle) too. Now I have over 20 species/cultivars and roaches have become another hobby of mine: 1. Panchlora nivea 2. Archimandrita marmorata (well, I suppose it's A. tesselata, have to sacrifice a male I guess...) 3. Blaberus craniifer “Black Wing“ 4. Eublaberus spec. (from Schaben-Spinnen.de) 5. Gyna lurida 6. Lucihormetica subcincta 7. Lucihormetica verrucosa 8. Oxyhaloa deusta 9. Princisia vanwaerebeki "black&white" (NOT G. portentosa BW... IF there is any difference between them at all) 10. Therea olegrandjeani 11. Blaptica dubia 12. Blaberus craniifer (3 "cultivars", 1 older "pure" German tribe (?tribe?), 1 light and one dark-brown (possibly a hybrid); genitalia dissection is planned) 13. Eublaberus distanti 14. Gromphadorhina portentosa (should come originally from the zoo in Zurich which imported them from Madagascar) 15. G. oblongata (might be G. portentosa, I'm waiting for the nymphs to get big enough) 16. Rhyparobia maderae 17. Rhyparobia sp. 'Goldi' 18. Nauphoeta cinerea 19. Archimandrita tesselata ("true" A. tesselata, but only one female) 20. Phoetalia pallida 21. Elliptorhina chopardi 22. Aeluropoda insignis 23. Blaberus giganteus 24. Blaberus atropos (might be B. discoidalis) 25. Elliptorhina javanica 26. Diploptera punctata Other invertebrates: - "white woodlice" and "brown woodlice" (no idea of the sci. name, keep them for cleaning the roach-boxes) Vertebrates: - 1.1 Pogona vitticeps "multicolor" morphs - 3.0 Canis lupus familiaris - 0.1 Homo s. sapiens cute form Well, thats all for the moment... Liebs Grüessli (Swiss dialect for something like "nice little greeting") Andreas P.S. I never liked popular names but couldn't convince others to use scientific ones. Now I've got a real good reason for YOU to use them cause otherwise I will not understand what kind of liveform you mean...
  20. Pharma

    Evolution vs. Creation

    Uhh... and where is the fire in that discussion? Sorry for asking stupid questions but for me (maybe because I'm from Switzerland) there is no fire in that poll. One of the advantages being part of a community from another culture is that one can learn a lot! That’s the reason why I’m answering here. One: I agree with Matt (at least the part I understood). Two: I don’t believe, either I know or I suppose but I don’t have any need of belief. Three: For me the question is insufficiently asked. Creation/Intelligent Design: Creation is not the same as I.D. because a non-Christ can/could believe in I.D. but not in creation (which is strictly old testimony). What is evolution? Nowadays we know that evolution is a manifold of what Darwin stated. We now know about co-evolution and see the things in a more “holistic” way (e.g. dependences over several edges and longer distances) but we still just know a little part of the evolution around as (meaning here in the present) and we can try to extrapolate to the past. But evolution does not describe nor explain the beginning of life (which will always be something in the dark OR the real thing to BELIEVE in, that’s what I “believe”…). Fire (or at least a trial): Evolutionary creationism in my eyes is complete rubbish. Don’t know what a parable means or what? Nothing against the bible, as long as it’s handled as a historic document greatly influenced by socio-cultural and political circumstances and strongly depending on the arbitrariness of some people who handed it down over generations and tried to translate texts (without enough knowledge of old Hebrew or without the will to use it…). Why aren’t the scrolls of Qumran not part of the bible jet? Nothing against religion too. Some people seem to need that (could be better than opium) whilst others get completely crazy for theirs (well, without religion they would find another reason for war or whatsoever). I mean: if someone needs something to believe in for the sake of his soul or his good night sleep then he/she should believe. It’s not a matter of rationality but of purpose. Belief never did anything good to science but it can bring miracles to the human psyche (depending on the religion or the people who preach it). And nothing against gods. There might be indeed some force or power usually invisible to mankind (like radioactivity was before Marie Curie). But even thou I have a blooming fantasy I can hardly imagine that this kind of (well, I can’t call it superior nor intelligent in a human sense) entity ever did start (create) life on purpose. As for radioactivity there might be more forces influencing our lives and our planet or (re-)acting in between of us than we will ever know. But a god is just something mankind believes in, gave it a name (and sometimes offerings) and assumes it being better, more intelligent and more powerful than ourselves. Looking at natural religions explains to me why this could or had to happen… And let’s say: A god can be extinct, namely by stop in believing in it. If there wouldn’t be any humans (or in a time before humans appeared on the planet) there wouldn’t be (wasn’t) belief (in the sense we know) and therefore no gods. But still there would be (was) a beginning. What I want to say: Creationism would not (or did not) exist but in pure theory Intelligent Design could have happened… (OK, that’s a fist in the face of a deeply believing Christ… nail me on a cross if you feel like… uups I did it again…) *Pour-oil-on-fire* Something against intelligent design: How the f*** did some people manage it that this has become part of biology lessons in schools in the US??? (Sorry if I’m misinformed!) If someone wants to close his/her eyes before rational thinking and science than OK, go to the church on Sunday or close your ears in classroom (and become maybe jobless) but for sure don’t teach the children such things in biology lessons! Well, one could quarrel if Darwin’s evolution theory is really that likely but it’s for sure a good example on scientific theories, rationality, and observations of natural processes and the environment we live in. And therefore belongs in the education. I’d feel like running amok if that would happen in Switzerland. Well, we have some lessons (separated from “normal” school) where religion is learned, preached and/or discussed. I’m fine with that because here one (e.g. the children) can see that there is a difference and that this is religion and not science as well as that here rationality and logics are quite useless. So at least we have the choice in what fits better in our lives. (Maybe that’s one reason why the church looses its disciples here around?) Now you may think that I’m completely guided by ratio but that’s not the case. I’m a human being and full of instincts and subconscious impulses whilst lacking the intelligence to understand or being able to explain everything (just trying hard to do so). But I’m fine with that and therefore belong if anything to the agnosticism and if I’d see an “entity” (in an esoteric meaning) in the forest I’m not going to think “Uh, now I’m crazy, gimme some pills!” nor “That was just a shadow, maybe…” but rather accept it and try to find out what “it” was (and get some more knowledge or use out of it). If, lets say, I would meet an elf which tells me how to see through walls, I wouldn’t care whether this elf is rational nor how it works that light suddenly can pass a wall. I’d going to accept it because the only thing that counts is the fact that I can get something useful out of it and life goes on. A believing person would now start to believe in elfs, pray to them, and asking it existential questions whilst a real rational one would torture its brains in search of a logic explanation coming to the conclusion that it’s impossible and wouldn’t therefore see through walls (even if that means closing the eyes every time a wall comes into vision). I’m somewhere in between… or over or beside it? And finally (coming back to the initial question): I think it’s more likely that some kind of evolution made us what we are and not the will of something “big”. How life began is an unresolved “mystery” as long as we can’t do it in vitro and everyone is free to believe or not whatever he/she feels best with! And for the future: at the moment evolution does no more apply to the human race and religions... ahhh... well, lets say I'm waiting for an intervention! P.S. If you now hate me for something I said: I’m sorry if I spoiled your day (if not then not…). If you find incoherent or contradictory statements it’s either due to my not so great English knowledge or due to my somehow undefined world view caused by head v.s. heart.
  21. Pharma

    What's this Cricket's name?

    Hi The crickets from the first post look like Gryllus assimilis: compared to many other Gryllus sp. its brown and not black. This species is often not really defined (they just call it G. assimilis because it looks like that) and is quite common in Switzerland and Germany (well, in pet shops, not free living!). We call it "Steppengrille"... From where are they? The pics from the second post are Acheta domestica ("house cricket", the dominant fed cricket here around, could be found in the wild sometimes) and maybe Gryllus bimaculatus ("african or mediterranean field cricket" or "two-spotted cricket"). Well, there are a lot of other species from the genus Gryllus being black and usually called "field crickets". G. bimaculatus typically (but not always!) has 2 white spots on the pronotum (common feeding insekt too). Some pics can be found for example HERE DITO
  22. Pharma

    B.craniifer setup and tips

    Hi NS Keeping them at 32°C is the upper limit. I would, if possible, keep them at ~30°C or switch off the heating during the night. A higher temp. causes a faster development, shorter life cycle, and faster reproduction but (!) the nymphs maybe die more often from dehydration (and constantly > 32°C will kill them). I kept mine in different settigs, from humid to dry soil and without substrate and it seems to me that especially the small nymphs do best in soil which is mainly dry and wetted at one edge every one and then (so they can choose their microclimate). If kept without substrate I would give them enough fresh (juicy) food and if kept on/in humid soil the adults seem to prefere dry "platforms" and will only reproduce (don't know why) if a dry place is present. Right now I keep mine in boxes which are split in two parts, one without substrate (but hideaways, where the adults usually are) and one with soil wetted at one side 2 times per week (where the small nymphs are). "Intermediat" nymphs and subadults usually wander around, sleep in the soil and feed in/on "dry lands"... But this critters seem very hard to kill... Grüessli Andreas P.S. Do you never use phrases like "Hello" or "Greetings" here in that forum (or in the US in general)?
  23. Pharma

    making your own water crystals?

    Hi (Sorry if my English is not that gorgeous, I’m used to speak Swiss dialect and write in German.) Agar is used as solid bacteria culture medium because most bacteria can't digest it (therefore the culture media will not melt as this is the case for most other natural gelatinizing agents) and not because it might be beneficial for bacteria in any other way. The polyactylate gel mentioned above is quite "bacteria/fungi resistant" because it contains potassium sorbate as conservative. Sorbic acid and its salts are better for nutritional use but less active than parabenes as suggested by skips. Propionic acid by the way won't work that great... My problem with polyacrylate gels is its artificial nature and the so called "harmlessness"... theoretically non-digestible but nevertheless prohibited (at least here in Switzerland) as food ingredient. In addition it may contain un-reacted monomers being quite toxic and it might be (at least partially) degraded by the roaches intestinal flora. If I would want to use water crystals (which I don't) I'd go for pure agar-agar without sugar or other stuff which might serve as bacterial nutrition. One could add some citric acid or phosphate salts to complex iron ions (iron is quite important for bacterial growth and a limiting factor in low nutrition media as agar plus tap water). Remember: Agar is a natural product and therefore full of edible stuff from a microbial point of view. Even common distilled water (which usually is from reverse osmosis and not from distillation) contains enough material for bacterial growth. The gelatin-sugar stuff will for sure promote bacterial growth.... bäh! Grüessli (engl. greetings) Andreas
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