Sample storage: how chill do you want to be?

Thermo Fisher Scientific
By David Felici
Wednesday, 01 September, 2021


When it comes to choosing cold storage for laboratory purposes, the question scientists or researchers should consider is: can I afford to place my research in a domestic refrigerator or freezer?

A household unit may seem an attractive choice in terms of costs. However, any savings made in the initial outlay for the unit will become insignificant in the event that priceless samples are compromised or spoilt.

Laboratory refrigerators and freezers are designed to meet stricter standards than domestic or commercial units and have in-built features that ensure samples are stored within their prescribed temperature range.

For example, a key distinguishing feature between a scientific cold storage unit and domestic fridge is the temperature display. A household appliance will generally lack an accurate temperature display. For temperature adjustment it is likely to have a rudimentary dial that simply allows users to alter temperature from coldest to warmest.

This is not precise enough for laboratory or medical purposes. Temperature variation can have an impact on the viability and efficacy of vaccines, medication, reagents and other temperature-sensitive materials. These deviations can shorten product shelf life, degrade enzymes and reduce vaccine efficacy.

Another key point of difference between a laboratory or clinical-grade cold storage unit and a household fridge is that the former will have a temperature monitoring and alarm system. A domestic appliance will not include a monitoring system and is unlikely to have the connectivity required to support this functionality.

With a laboratory unit, users will receive an alarm notification if the temperature of the unit has been affected in any way. There are numerous scenarios where this can prove invaluable — an obvious one being power outages. What this type of system affords the scientist or researcher is time to take corrective action.

Other factors that need to be considered when choosing the right cold storage solution include how they will fit into the laboratory space and whether they will meet the requirements of the Australian Standards for lab design and safety: AS/NZS 2982-2010 (Laboratory Design and Construction) and AS/NZS 2243.1:2005 (Safety in Laboratories Planning and Operational Aspects). Moreover, the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) of Australia has guidelines for the appropriate management of biological specimens and laboratory samples. Any scientist or researcher using cold storage should consider whether they are meeting these guidelines, else they may fail to meet NATA accreditation when it comes to the risk management of their work.

To meet the above Standards and NATA guidelines, as well as be secure in your cold storage, it’s important to choose a unit that has been designed for laboratory and clinical environments, such as the Thermo Scientific™ TSX Series high-performance refrigerators and freezers.1

The Thermo Scientific TSX Series use a unique technology called V-Drive technology which is designed to provide temperature uniformity. Importantly, it continually adapts to the lab or clinical environment, offering significant energy savings without compromising on sample protection. It therefore not only meets requirements for sample storage but provides significant energy savings.

Other advantages of the TSX Series are its easy-to-use access controls, cloud connectivity and whisper-quiet operations — in fact, these units are up to 10 times quieter than our previous generation of Thermo Fisher Scientific freezer and fridge units.

Ultimately, when it comes to sample protection, it’s about having the confidence that your equipment won’t let you down. At Thermo Fisher Scientific we appreciate the time and effort you put into your samples, so we work to ensure they are stored correctly, as if your samples were our samples. This is why we value the way in which they are stored and treated. After all, these represent the promise of your research and could mean a breakthrough or a cure.

It is therefore our mission to ensure that your samples are protected. And we have 40 years’ experience in cold storage management with more than 2 billion samples currently being supported by our cold storage equipment and consumables.

If you’re interested to learn more about our cold storage options, get in touch with one of our Thermo Fisher Scientific Specialists or visit our website.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Khunatorn

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