How much thought have you given to the size of the tube you use for your samples? Or the size of your storage container? This guest blog post from Micronic highlights how carefully considering these simple choices can have a significant impact on your lab’s cold storage.
The validity of the data of a research project depends on the quality of samples. To prevent reductions in quality, strict standards for sample storage are needed. This is where the standardization of biobanking practices can be useful. But how should you standardize efficiently?
Determine tube size
Samples should be placed in tubes corresponding the volume of the sample. When sample volume has been estimated based on the research protocol, the next step is determining appropriate tube size. To increase storage efficiency and minimize sample loss, avoid excess volume inside the sample storage tube.
To increase long-term sample storage efficiency, evaluate how your tubes are arranged within storage containers. Placing tubes into well-organized, robust storage racks or boxes that comply with the ANSI/SLAS standards and then stacking these efficiently in aluminum freezer racks optimizes the number of samples that can be stored in a freezer or cryo tank. This saves space, enabling you to store more within the unit.
Each sample tube and storage rack should be coded to ensure that every sample is traceable at any given moment. A common way to code sample storage tubes and racks is with text and barcodes, most secure by etching with a laser. By scanning the barcode of each tube and rack, each sample can be easily registered or updated. The location and characteristics of a sample should be recorded carefully in a Laboratory Sample Management System so it can be found again when that sample is needed for further research. By scanning barcodes of samples as they leave the freezer, this ensures the absolute traceability of each sample.
Special thanks again to Micronic for sharing this information with us!
This guest blog post was written by Irina Choulguina, Marketing Specialist at Micronic
As a reminder, the deadline for the Freezer Challenge is now July 1!
Though we paused the blog for the past few weeks, the International Laboratory Freezer Challenge is still ongoing...in fact, we extended the deadline to July 1, 2020! As of today there are two months left in which you can still take action with your lab's cold storage to improve energy efficiency and sample integrity, saving your lab time and money. Just be sure to get those scoresheets in by July 1.
We are thrilled with the enthusiasm and engagement we have received for the Freezer Challenge this year - over 90 organizations worldwide are participating. Thank you for being a part of this fun, competitive opportunity to address storage in your lab's refrigerators, freezers, and cold rooms.
Many laboratories are now aiding the global effort to combat COVID-19. In case you haven't seen it, we wanted to share the CDC's Laboratory Biosafety and COVID-19 FAQ, which includes guidelines for sample storage of COVID-19: "Store specimens at 2-8 ºC for up to 72 hours after collection. If a delay occurs in extraction, store specimens at -70 ºC or lower. Store extracted nucleic acid samples at -70 ºC or lower." This aligns with our adage of "-70 really is the new -80 C"! It's wonderful to see the CDC's guidelines mirroring the recommendations of the Freezer Challenge.
The Freezer Challenge is run by the non-profits My Green Lab and I2SL and is supported by our generous sponsors: Eppendorf, Stirling Ultracold, PHCbi, and Thermo Fisher Scientific.
Photo by Immo Wegmann on Unsplash