Featured Product: myBlock II Digital Dry Bath

Today we have the myBlock II Digital Dry Bath – Dual Chamber with 2 Quick-Flip Blocks as our featured product! This digital dry bath serves major advantages over traditional dry baths.

Main Features:

  • Digital temperature control (set and walk away)
  • Hinged lid (improves uniformity & conserves energy)
  • External (optional) temperature probe (measures actual sample temperature)
  • Includes (2) Quick-Flip universal blocks (supports all common tube sizes, PCR strips and PCR plates)
  • Additional blocks can be purchased separately

The first digital dry baths to include advanced microprocessor controls, timed or continuous operation and a removable hinged lid. In addition, an optional external temperature feedback probe can be positioned directly inside a sample tube, providing real-time control and monitoring of actual sample temperature.

The myBlock’s transparent lid helps to promote better uniformity and minimize temperature stratification in the block by maintaining a warm air jacket layer. It also helps to reduce energy consumption by minimizing heat loss to the environment. The hinged lid can be flipped open (to the rear), or easily removed (lifted off) to accommodate taller tubes.

Includes (2) Quick-Flip Blocks. These universal blocks accept tubes from 0.5 to 2.0ml and, with just a quick flip to the other side, accommodate 0.2ml tubes, PCR strips or (in the dual block model only) a PCR plate. Other blocks are available for tubes up to 50ml. Have a question on our featured product? Let us know in the comment box below!

Featured Product: BrandTech Accu-Jet Pro Pipette Controller

Our featured product today is our BrandTech Accu-Jet Pro Pipette Controller! The accu-jet pro elevates pipette control to the next generation.

Product Features

  • Speed Control: A new range dial lets you set maximum pipetting speed, but still provides the touch-sensitive, continuously adjustable speed control that made the accu-jet so popular.
  • Ergonomic Grip: The accu-jet pro has a reshaped ergonomic grip that works well with both small and large hands.
  • Battery Life: The accu-jet pro provides 8 hours of full speed operation on a 4-hour charge. There’s even an LED indicator when you have two hours of pipetting time left. Convenient battery access with a slide-on cover.
  • Protects Cell Pellets: Unparalleled soft blow-out control minimizes disturbance of cell pellets, or density gradient interfaces.
  • Comes with: NiHM battery pack, wall holder, two sterile replacement 0.2µm hydrophobic filters, 120V/60Hz charger, operating manual, and one-year warranty.
  • Dimensions: 9.50″ L x 9.50″ W x 2.50″ H
  • Color Selection: dark blue, green, magenta and royal blue.

Understanding Serological Pipettes

Understanding serological pipettes is very important in your laboratory applications. Serological pipettes are often used in laboratory settings to transfer liquid, typically in measurements of 1mL to 50mL. Serology is a scientific study of plasma serum or other bodily fluids that refers to diagnostic identification of antibodies. We’ve put together a few helpful techniques and tips to keep in mind when using serological pipettes.

  1. Don’t touch the sterile pipette with your hands or lay it on the table, this can lead to contamination.
  2. Blown Out” is a common term used that means to empty the pipette in order to measure the correct volume.
  3. You never want the solution to go up into the cotton plug.
  4. When using serological pipettes it’s important for the user to wear protective apparel, such as a lab coat, gloves, eyewear, etc.

With a variety of serological pipettes to choose from, they can be used for a wide range of experimental assays.  Our 25mL UniPlast Plastic Serological Pipettes are available as non-sterile or sterile, and red striped color coded using the ASTM E1380 industry standards. These pipettes have smooth one-piece construction seamless design eliminates the weld points that trap liquid and provide a faster fill and release, ensures a complete flow out and offers a high degree of accuracy. Be sure to watch our product video below to see the 25mL UniPlast serological pipettes in use.

Featured Product: Open-End Serological Pipettes

Today’s featured product are our open-end serological pipettes! These specially designed pipettes feature an open end for use with high viscosity liquids. They provide fast fill and release rates and are typically used with oils, cosmetics, paint, sludge, food and cell-culture applications.

Product Features:

  • Available in 1mL, 2mL, 5mL and 10mL sizes.
  • Polystyrene (PS) Open-End Serological Pipettes are color coded for easy identification
  • Fiber filter plug
  • Sterilized by gamma irradiation
  • Sterility assurance level (SAL): 10-6
  • Non-pyrogenic
  • Individually wrapped in thermoformed paper/plastic peel packaging
  • Safe alternative to glass pipettes
  • Industry standard color coding meets ASTM E1380
  • Calibrated to deliver (TD) at +/-2%. Meets ASTM E934

Featured Product: 4 oz (118ml) Whirl-Pak Write-On Bags

Today’s featured product comes from our selection of Whirl-Pak specimen bags, the 4 oz. (118ml) Whirl-Pak Write-On Bags!

Whirl-Pak bags made the “universal sample system”, which means that a single sample can be used for all tests required for quality control, product content, and legal compliance.

Features:

  • A convenient white Write-On Strip will accept virtually any writing instruments (ballpoint pen, pencil, or felt-tip marker) for easy sample identification
  • Marking for 100ml and 4oz measurements to assist in volume control
  • High-quality blended polyethylene
  • Puncture proof tabs by extending the tape on the tab past the aluminum wire ends eliminating the sharp points which could puncture the bags or gloves
  • Leakproof closure (whirling or tightly folding the tab over 3 times) prevents impurities from entering the bag and contaminating the sample
  • Sterile with +1 Sterilization, a process of sterilizing sealed cartons of Whirl-Pak bags after manufacturing using ethylene oxide gas at an independent ISO-certified facility
  • Not autoclavable
  • Bags should not be used at temperatures above 180°F (82°C)
  • Bags can be frozen to any temperature, even liquid nitrogen temperatures down to -346°F (-210°C); careful handling required after freezing
  • ISO9001 certified
  • FDA approval

Have any questions on the whirl-pak write-on bags? Let us know in the box below!

Proper Pipetting Procedures – Adjustable Pipettes

We have put together a few important steps when it comes to proper pipetting procedures for an adjustable pipette. It’s very important to accurately use your pipette, pipette tips and pipette accessories. If done correctly, the transfer of liquid will be accurate.

  1. If you’re using an adjustable pipette, you must select the volume amount that needs to be transferred. You can do this by rotating the volume selector wheel to the correct volume. (Tip: Always go higher then the desired volume, then slowly turn the wheel down to the needed volume.)
  2. Then you will need to choose the correct pipette tip. When attaching, you must firmly press the shaft of the pipette into the wider opening of the tip for a good seal.  (Tip: Do not force the shaft into the tip, it could potentially cause damage over time.)
  3. Place either your index finger or thumb over the top of plunger and press to the first stopping point. Hold the plunger in this position.
  4. Place your pipette tip into your sample and let up on the plunger to allow the sample to rise into the tip. Also, make sure your pipette is vertical or within a 20 degree angle. (Tip: Do not remove your thumb from the plunger or let the plunger rise up fast because your sample volume might dispense incorrectly.)
  5. You will want to make sure you don’t have any bubbles in the pipette tip after the aspiration of the sample fluid is complete.
  6. Remove the pipette tip from the sample and wipe off excess fluid from outside of tip. (Tip: Be careful not to touch the bottom of the tip)
  7. To dispense the liquid sample into a receiving tube, press the plunger down slowly and steadily pass the first stop all the way to the bottom. Wait approximately 2 seconds to allow complete dispensing of sample into receiving unit.
  8. Then remove the tip from the wall of the receiving unit and release the plunger.
  9. Then simply dispose the pipette tip by pressing the ejector button to remove the tip and dispose in the appropriate bio-hazard container depending on your facility’s guidelines.

As always, following your facility’s guidelines and laboratory rules is highly recommended. If you have any questions regarding this post, please let us know in the comment box below!

Featured Product: Culture Tubes and Caps

Today’s featured product is our disposable culture tubes and caps! These disposable sterile round bottom culture tubes are made of high quality Polypropylene (PP) plastic or crystal clear Polystyrene (PS).

Features:

  • Polypropylene (PP) Tubes will withstand temperatures from -190° to +120°C and may be centrifuged at up to 4000xg
  • Polystyrene (PS) Tubes will withstand with a more limited temperatures range of 0° to 70°C and may be centrifuged at up to 2000xg
  • Caps are made of polyethylene (PE) and have the popular two position design (up/loose for aerobic work and down/sealed for anaerobic cultures)
  • 12mm x 75mm tubes are graduated to 4ml
  • 17mm x 100mm tubes are graduated to 12ml
  • Printed graduations & marking spot
  • Sterile; RNase & DNase free
  • Culture Tubes are supplied with dual position caps attached

Have any questions about today’s featured product? Let us know in the comment box below.

How To Whirl A Whirl-Pak Specimen Bag?

Wonder how Whirl-Pak bags got their name? Well, because by whirling your Whirl-Pak specimen bag, it creates a tight seal! Whirl-Pak specimen bags are very unique sample bags as they are durable and have many features to make your specimen handling process easy. It’s very simple to mix the sample in the whirl-pak specimen bag, this post will break down the step-by-step process of whirling your whirl-pak bag.

There are many styles and sizes within the Whirl-Pak family. For the smaller to medium sized bags here are instructions on how to use them:

  1. Label the bag with any necessary sample information. (You can use virtually any writing instrument – ballpoint pen, pencil, felt-tip marker)
  2. Tear off the top of the bag along perforation.
  3. Use the pull tabs on each side of the bag to open. (Sometimes a little pull on the bottom of the bag can help when opening)
  4. Put the sample, either liquid or solid, into the bag. (Leave space at the top for closing and mixing if necessary)
  5. Pull the ends of the wire to close the bag. Hold the bag by the wire ends, whirl the bag 3 complete revolutions to form a leak-proof seal. (whirling the bag will  create the tightest seal)
  6. Bend the wire ends over onto the bag to complete the closing.

For larger bags, you can simply close the bag by folding the tab over as tightly as possible.

For a visual on how to whirl a whirl-pak bag, click here for our instructional sheet. If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comment box below!

Featured Product: AlphaGuard Coveralls

Our featured product today is our AlphaGuard Coveralls. With a unique blend of strength, comfort and protective qualities, these coveralls are suitable for use in controlled environments.

The soft, comfortable AlphaGuard material is ultra clean and exhibits excellent durability. AlphaGuard material is fluid repellent but not recommended for use with chemicals. This material delivers high bacterial filtration rates with low particle counts reducing your contamination concerns. AlphaGuard is also static dissipative, perfect for applications that require an ESD material.

  • Construction Details: Elastic wrist, ankle and back; Serged seams
  • The elastic back minimizes loose material and reduces the hazard of snagging on equipment
  • Latex Free
  • Available in Blue or White Color

Selecting A Laboratory Rocker Or Shaker: Interview With Benchmark Scientific

We recently interviewed Phillip Sims, who is the product manager at Benchmark Scientific to find out more about laboratory shakers and rockers. Laboratory mixing equipment, such as rockers and shakers are key tools used in many different laboratory settings nationwide. Phillip Sims answers a few of our most common questions regarding laboratory shakers and rockers.

1. What should someone consider prior to selecting a rocker or a shaker?

The most important factors to consider when choosing a rocker or a shaker are the type of motion that is desired for a specific application, the speed and orbit/tilt required to achieve optimal results, and the size or capacity required for the lab. Other details that should be considered are whether the instrument will ever be used in a cold room or incubator and if built-in temperature control is desired.

2. Could you provide a few examples of which instrument would be most appropriate for different applications (e.g. Western blot, gel staining, immunoprecipitation) and why?

While many labs choose to interchange rockers and shakers at will, specific motions and speeds will optimize results depending on application. Rockers are primarily used when control over how a particular solution moves over a media is important. For example, successful gel staining requires a wave effect to ensure that the staining agent evenly penetrates all pores within a given gel. Similar results can be achieved with both a 2D (see-saw) and 3D (nutating) rocker by adjusting speed and tilt angle. Some other examples of the best use for rockers would include gel de-staining, blotting, and film development.

While shakers can be used for some low speed applications like blotting, they tend to be more oriented towards medium speed applications such as cell culture and suspension, as well as general reagent mixing. Because shakers operate on a perfectly horizontal plane, the solution is distributed evenly in a vessel at low speed, and pulled toward the walls of a vessel at higher speed.

3. Once we’ve established whether a rocker or shaker is most appropriate, what are the key features to consider when selecting a particular model?

Rockers can come in many different variations depending on what the ultimate end use will be. Two of the more important features to be considered are motion, and the ability to adjust speed and angle. 2D rockers (exp. Benchmixer 2D), also known as a see-saw rockers, move a platform up and down over a fulcrum in the same motion that the name suggests. This provides a linear wave effect that washes back and forth within the vessel. 3D, or nutating rockers (exp. Benchmixer 3D) move each corner of the platform up and down in succession so that the wave generated moves from corner to corner in a circular motion. While both motions can be used for similar applications, 3D rockers are typically capable of stronger agitation when needed.

Often, end-users are recommended to choose a rocker with variable tilt and speed control so that the instrument can be used for multiple applications. By adjusting speed and tilt, the size of the wave can be adjusted for gentle or vigorous action as needed. In instances where it is known that the instrument will only be used for one purpose (such as blotting), a good deal of money can be saved by purchasing a fixed speed, fixed angle rocker optimized for the application (exp. Blotboy).

Since orbital shakers only provide one type of motion (circular mixing), key features to consider are speed and shaking orbit. Most common orbital shakers operate on a 19mm or 24mm orbit and are optimized for shaking wider diameter (>30mm) flasks and dishes. Because of the wider orbit, very vigorous mixing can be achieved with a maximum speed of 300rpm. Flask capacity and attachment system are also important to note when choosing a shaker for the lab. While capacity is widely based on the size of the platform, few researchers consider the attachment mechanism for clamps. Many traditional shakers utilize a pre-drilled universal platform which requires each individual clamp to be screwed down. If a lab must shake a large number of small flasks, followed by a few larger flasks, they may spend upwards of an hour each day simply exchanges clamps. Some manufacturers have worked around this by using a sticky mat for low speed applications; however, the patented MAGic Clamp™ system from Benchmark Scientific utilizes a magnetic clamping mechanism for instantaneous flask exchange of volumes up to 3 Liter. The ability to place clamps anywhere on the platform also increases capacity by 20% when compared to platforms of a similar size.

Load capacity and operating temperature are features of both instruments that an end-user will want to be aware of. As flasks and vessels can be filled to various levels, it is important to ensure that the motor utilized will be capable of moving the weight placed upon the operating platform. It is also important to check operating temperatures if the rocker or shaker is to be used in a cold room or incubator.

4. What different considerations are there for someone working in a commercial lab to a small scale research lab?

The major consideration will again be load capacity and weight. Most research labs operate in much smaller scale and will find a small or medium sized bench top shaker or rocker adequate for their needs. Commercial labs often work with much higher through-put and are typically agitating many more flasks and larger volumes at any given time. They may require a heavier duty rocker like the Everlast 247 or high capacity shaker such as the Orbi-Shaker XL to meet the increased weight requirement for larger volumes.

5. What is your most popular product in this space and why (e.g. does it serve a specific customer base)?

Our most popular product by far is the Incu-Shaker Mini by Benchmark Scientific. This product is a temperature controlled, orbital shaker most commonly used for cell culture. With a built in incubator, the end-user can control temperature up to 60°C. While these types of shakers are commonplace in life science laboratories, the Incu-Shaker Mini in unique in that it is the most compact incubated shaker on the market. With a footprint of just 11” x 14”, the shaker can fit in even the most crowded laboratory space.

The feature that truly makes the Incu-Shaker Mini stand out is the patented Magic Clamp™ magnetic clamping platform. With traditional shakers, end users must undertake the time consuming task of screwing down individual flask clamps and tube racks. Over time, screws can become lost and platforms stripped, requiring the end-user to purchase replacements. With the Magic Camp platform, flask exchanges are instantaneous and tool-less. The platform and clamps are covered under a lifetime warranty to guarantee that they will be capable of securing vessels for the life of the machine.

6. Have you seen growing demand for particular features? If so, do you know the reason behind that demand?

Customers have always demanded an easier way to move between flask volumes. Some companies have adapted a sticky mat solution; however, these typically wear out after a year or so and are not capable of securing vessel at speeds over 150 rpm. The MAGic Clamp™ system from Benchmark Scientific has solved this problem by utilizing strong neodymium magnets to secure vessels up to 3 Liters at a shaking speed of 300 rpm. The MAGic Clamp system is available on all Benchmark Orbital Shaker models.

Have any questions on our laboratory shakers or rockers? Be sure to let us know below!