Conservation of the preserving medium is an essential element for the proper preservation of specimens in fluid collections. However, the preservatives can become chemically altered over time or be lost by processes such as evaporation. To combat such changes and properly care for and maintain immersed specimens, it is therefore necessary to know what preservative fluid was initially chosen and how its chemistry may have evolved with time. The present work explores the possibilities offered by Raman spectrometry for a rapid, nondestructive, noninvasive alternative to commonly employed chemical identification tests, which are often limited to the identification of simple fluids. In a first step, fluids were reconstituted and analyzed in small standard glass containers to evaluate the potential of the technique. Then we successfully applied the procedure to real cases and considered its possible use to estimate the concentration of ethanol and to detect small quantities of formaldehyde (down to 1%). The results demonstrate the power of this technique, which opens up new possibilities for the management of fluid collections.

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