Diaphonization is a process invented in 1977 by scientists G. Dingerkus and L.D. Uhler, that makes the soft tissues of a specimen see-through, while staining certain aspects of the structure to make it more easily discernible. Using a digestive enzyme called “trypsin,” the flesh is broken down into a clear state. Then, the specimens are soaked in dye baths that specifically target and attach to the part of the specimen meant to be emphasized, such as the bones, muscles, or cartilage. Typically, these dyes are blue, red, or purple. These specimens are then stored in liquid glycerin, providing a permanent home to delicate creation.
A diaphonized rabbit from Jon Ferry’s personal collection, photographed by @tyron.shThis process is really a fascinating look into biochemistry, with dyes like alizarin red that attach to calcium, like bones. It provides a stunning and scientifically advanced way to study bones that allows artists and scientists alike to appreciate the intricacies of living organisms.
Artists such as Misty at Blood Moon Oddities use this process to illustrate the natural world is a fascinating blend of science and art. We thank her for taking the time to speak to us about this captivating technique.