CREASOTE or KREASOTE is a fluid compound of oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon, obtained from oil of tar. It is colourless,trans parent, and has a strong odour which greatly resembles that of smoked meat, with a caustic and burning taste. It is highly antiseptic, and combines both with acids and with alka lies ; but it is decomposed by strong nitric and sulphuric acid.
Creasote coagulates albumen, even when much diluted, and it also coagulates serum. Meat and fish are preserved after having been brushed over with creasote and dried in the sun ; the antiseptic power of pyroligneous acid and wood smoke is supposed to be derived from its presence. A few drops added to ink are said effectually to prevent its becoming mouldy.
Creasote, from its extraordinary antiseptic qualities, is becoming employed in various ways for the preservation of animal and vege table food. A joint of uncooked meat, in hot weather, may be preserved pure for many days by the use of this remarkable agent.
There are many ways in which this may be done. The meat may be exposed to the smoke produced by the burning of the wood which contains or yields creasote ; or the meat may be soaked for a short time in water which contains a few drops of creasote ; or it may be hung up in a larder or safe, with a dish beneath it containing a little creasote, the slow evaporation of which gradually affects the meat. The first two of these methods are in some respects objectionable, inasmuch as a peculiar smell and taste are imparted to the meat ; but in the third method, especially if both the dish and the meat are covered with cloths, the antiseptic effect is said to be pro duced without the accompaniment of the odour and taste.