Are you using the correct micropipette?- February 3, 2021 – Lukas Keller – Life Sciences News Article

Laboratory professionals can spend hours each day holding a micropipette, and improving pipetting efficiency and ensuring reliable results is often a challenge.Choosing the right micropipette for any given application is key to the success of laboratory work; it not only ensures the performance of any experiment, but also increases efficiency.Understanding the needs of the pipetting workflow enables users to select accurate and repeatable pipettes, but there are many other factors that should be considered to improve pipetting results and guarantee the success of experiments.
Broadly speaking, liquids fall into three main categories: aqueous, viscous, and volatile.Most liquids are water-based, making air displacement pipettes the first choice for many.While most liquids work well with this pipette type, volumetric pipettes should be chosen when working with very viscous or volatile liquids.The differences between these pipette types are shown in Figure 1.It is also important to use the correct pipetting technique – regardless of the liquid type – for excellent results.
The two most critical parameters affecting pipetting results are accuracy and precision (Figure 2).To achieve maximum pipetting accuracy, precision, and reliability, several criteria should be kept in mind.As a rule of thumb, the user should always choose the smallest pipette that can handle the desired transfer volume.This is important as accuracy decreases as the set volume approaches the minimum volume of the pipette.For example, if you dispense 50 µl with a 5,000 µl pipette, the results may be poor.Better results can be obtained with 300 µl pipettes, while 50 µl pipettes provide the best results.Additionally, the volume set on traditional manual pipettes may change during pipetting due to accidental rotation of the plunger.This is why some pipette manufacturers have developed locking volume adjustment designs to prevent inadvertent changes while pipetting to further ensure accuracy.Calibration is another important aspect that helps guarantee reliable results by demonstrating the accuracy and precision of the pipette.This process should be easy for the user; for example, some electronic pipettes can set calibration reminders, or save calibration history.It’s not just pipettes to consider.If a pipette tip becomes loose, leaks, or falls off, it can cause a variety of problems.This common problem in the lab is often caused by the use of general-purpose pipette tips, which often require “tapping.”This process stretches the edge of the pipette tip and can cause the tip to leak or misplace, or even cause the tip to fall off the pipette entirely.Choosing a high-quality micropipette designed with specific tips ensures a more secure connection, providing a higher level of reliability and better results.Additionally, something as simple as color-coding pipettes and tips can also help users ensure the correct tips are selected for their pipettes.
In a high-throughput environment, it is important to be as efficient as possible while maintaining the reliability and consistency of the pipetting process.There are many ways to improve pipetting efficiency, including the use of multichannel and/or electronic pipettes.These versatile instruments often offer several different pipetting modes—such as reverse pipetting, variable dispensing, programmed serial dilutions, and more—to simplify the process.For example, procedures such as repeated dispensing are ideal for dispensing multiple aliquots of the same volume without refilling the tip.Using single-channel pipettes to transfer samples between different formats of labware can quickly become very tedious and error-prone.Multichannel pipettes allow transferring multiple samples at once in the blink of an eye.Not only does this increase efficiency, it also helps prevent pipetting errors and repetitive strain injury (RSI).Some pipettes even have the ability to vary tip spacing during pipetting, allowing parallel transfers of multiple samples between different labware sizes and formats, saving hours of time (Figure 3).
Laboratory professionals typically spend hours a day pipetting.This can cause discomfort and, in more severe cases, even hand or arm injury.The best advice to avoid these potential risks is to reduce the amount of time you hold the pipette to the shortest possible time.In addition to this, users should choose a lightweight and well-balanced micropipette with mass in the center for better stability.The pipette should fit comfortably in the hands of left- and right-handed users, have a good grip design, and adjust the volume as comfortably and quickly as possible to avoid unnecessary movement.Also, tips are important, as tip loading and ejection often require more force than pipetting and there is a potential risk of injury, especially in high-throughput settings.Pipette tips should snap into place with minimal force, provide a secure connection, and be equally easy to eject.
When choosing the right micropipette for your application, it’s important to look at every aspect of your workflow.By considering the pipette, its characteristics, the type and volume of liquid being pipetted, and the tips used, scientists can guarantee accurate, precise and reliable results while maintaining productivity and minimizing the risk of injury.
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Post time: Jun-10-2022