Not an ordinary day…

A team building obstacle course at our Iringa office? Surprise shipments of cryotubes and lab reagents?

Even better…the arrival of our first supply of liquid nitrogen!  HALI and SUA researchers stepped around sand, rocks, and each other on their way to our storage room, trying to balance the heavy load. Asante sana to Dr. Makondo and his team for the delivery on their way to Katavi National Park (another 1500 or so km to the west), where they will be conducting wildlife disease research!

LN2 (if you’re into abbreviations or chemical descriptions) is a precious substance in our area of the world. Liquid nitrogen is very cool…literally! With a boiling point of  -196 degrees Celsius (-321 degrees F), LN2 allows us to store our samples at ultra-low temperatures in the field and during transport to our lab at Sokoine University. The large, awkwardly shaped box in the photos contains a high-tech vacuum flask (or dewar) that keeps the liquid nitrogen, well…liquid.

So, where did the LN2 come from and where will it go? This batch came overland in the back of a pick-up truck from Dodoma, Tanzania’s capital. It will eventually evaporate and our supply will need to be refilled. However, our LN2 importing days will soon be over. To keep our project supply sustainable, we’re installing a liquid nitrogen generator…the first in Iringa! Stay tuned for updates on what it takes to make LN2 in the backyard.

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