Laboratories need to store delicate and temperature-sensitive items that require proper storage conditions to remain potent.
When it comes to storage conditions, temperature plays a critical role. If laboratory owners fail to keep items in the correct temperature environments, they can degrade or get damaged. In such a case, the owners have to spend extra money on replacing the damaged item stock. Therefore, they should not miss out on the proper storage practices.
Laboratory refrigerators and freezers provide solutions to maintaining the right temperature environments. So, you must invest in a cold storage unit to preserve your item stock effectively.
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There are many types of cold storage units, with different benefits, available in the market. All you need to do is take into consideration your specific needs before you invest in one.
So, let us know the nitty-gritty associated with cold storage units for laboratories and ways to maintain your laboratory.
Why is a Laboratory Refrigerator Indispensable?
It is a universal fact that you cannot run your laboratory without a cold storage unit. To preserve temperature-sensitive items, you need a laboratory refrigerator or freezer.
There is a difference between laboratory cold storage units and household refrigerators. The former can maintain temperature accurately, but the latter does not have rigid temperature control. The difference makes laboratory refrigerators and freezers the ideal choices for laboratories.
In healthcare facilities, the need for safely storing vaccines, blood samples, pharmaceutical items, etc., call for investing in laboratory freezers and refrigerators. The items are temperature sensitive and get damaged if the temperature goes out of the prescribed range.
The wrong temperature can also trigger complications, like bacteria growth, apart from imparting instability in the stored items.
Such cold storage units can provide reliable cold storage solutions for scientific, medical, and pharmaceutical laboratories.
Accurate temperature control is not the only factor that makes such units ideal for laboratories. Advanced security systems are the next thing to consider. The security system helps monitor temperature fluctuations and alerts when your staff member accidentally leaves the door open.
Temperature monitoring is essential because it helps keep an eye on the internal temperature, which can damage the stored items if it goes out of range.
Needless to say, if your items get damaged, you have to incur heavy financial losses in replacing the damaged stock.
What are the Various Temperature Ranges?
All laboratory owners should have sound knowledge of the various temperature ranges, which are as follows:
Temperatures at around 20 degrees C are classified as room temperature. You can keep some reagents and biological samples at room temperature in your laboratory, even for the long term.
For example, you can preserve tissues in alcohol, formalin, or another fixative solution at room temperature in your laboratory. But you cannot store DNA or RNA extracted samples at room temperature as that will spoil them. You need a laboratory freezer to keep them, preserving their potencies.
Temperatures within the 4 degrees C range fall under this category. Refrigerators can provide such temperatures in laboratories to effectively store biological reagents and buffers, including specific antibodies and enzymes.
You can also store freshly collected blood samples or tissue biopsies in refrigerators for short periods, but not for long periods.
Refrigerated temperature is ideal for short-term reagents storage, which also loses effectiveness if you expose them to warmer temperature environments.
You can also use refrigerators to store tissues or DNA or RNA temporarily.
Freezers provide temperatures around -20 degrees C, which is also called freezer temperature. Standard refrigerators are not suitable for storing temperature-sensitive biochemical reagents and samples as they cannot provide freezing temperatures. Such temperature-sensitive items require freezers for storage.
An advantage of freezers is that they require less laboratory space. Usually, laboratory freezers store items used frequently and also samples for upcoming experiments.
You can store tissues, aliquots of peptides, antibodies, DNA, and RNA in freezers.
It will not be difficult for you to figure out that freezers that provide temperatures around -80 degrees C are called ultra-low temperature freezers.
Such freezers are perfect for storing biological material for the long term, and the temperature prevents the degradation of proteins, nucleic acids, and larger molecules. For example, such freezers are a must for storing highly temperature-sensitive COVID19 vaccines.
But, there is also an aspect to note. Usually, items you store in such a freezer is for long-term storage. So, you should take adequate care to avoid freeze-thaw cycles, resulting in the degradation of protein and DNA.
When you store items in such a freezer, you need to retrieve them carefully, which has led to the usage of different freezer storage accessories and software.
For example, laboratory information management software (LIMS) helps you accurately manage your samples’ inventory. It enables you to note their exact location. Similarly, tools like the CryoHolder can enable you to pick up and move cryo vials quickly.
Ultra-low temperature freezers can also freeze cells slowly before you store them in liquid nitrogen.
Liquid Nitrogen Temperature
Liquid nitrogen temperature is required for long-term cryogenic storage of biological samples. The temperature is at around -196 degrees C.
As liquid nitrogen suspends items’ activity, it is a great medium to prevent the degradation of sensitive samples and specimens.
Liquid nitrogen is mostly used to store cells, sperm, oocytes, and embryos.
We believe that this article will help you understand the range of temperature your laboratory needs, and that will also help you choose the right cold storage unit. You must choose the right cold storage unit for your laboratory as that determines the efficiency and productivity of your laboratory. Do not fall behind in selecting a reliable and reputed freezer manufacturer.