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STORAGE OF BIOLOGICAL

SOLUTIONS AND MATERIALS


Biological solutions and biological materials
must be properly stored to avoid
degradation and contamination.
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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STORAGE OF
BIOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS AND
MATERIALS
If storage instructions are available from a
manufacturer or previous investigator, they
should usually be followed.

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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STORAGE OF
BIOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS AND
MATERIALS
Buffers and salt solutions are often stored
indefinitely at room temperature. Be aware,
that microorganisms grow well in these
solutions, and salts and other components
may precipitate over time.
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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STORAGE OF
BIOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS AND
MATERIALS
Before use, examine solutions for visible
particulates that may indicate contamination
or precipitation.

For some applications, solutions with some
particulates are acceptable: in other
applications they are not.
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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STORAGE OF
BIOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS AND
MATERIALS
Buffer solutions and media that have been
autoclaved are usually stable at room
temperature.
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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STORAGE OF
BIOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS AND
MATERIALS
To prevent bacterial contamination, small
amounts of bactericidal agents are
sometimes added to solutions.

Some solutions are best sterilized by
autoclaving or filtration.
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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STORAGE OF
BIOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS AND
MATERIALS
Cold tends to protect biological materials
from degradation and to inhibit the growth
of microorganisms.

Some materials are best stored at 0
o
C, some
are frozen at -20C, others are frozen at -
70C, or in liquid nitrogen at -196C.
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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STORAGE OF
BIOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS AND
MATERIALS
Freezing is a good way to protect many
materials from degradation, potentially
destructive physical events occur during
freezing and thawing.

Ice crystals, which can damage biological
materials, form during freezing and melt
during thawing.
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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STORAGE OF
BIOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS AND
MATERIALS
When working with materials extracted from
cells, degradative enzymes from the cells
may slowly destroy proteins and other
biological materials, even in -20C freezers;

Therefore, -70C freezers are often
preferable for storing cellular extracts.
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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STORAGE OF
BIOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS AND
MATERIALS
Avoid multiple freeze-thaw cycles. Ice crystal
formation during freezing can damage
biomolecules, particularly proteins.
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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STORAGE OF
BIOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS AND
MATERIALS
Divide solution into small individual
containers, called aliquots.

Only aliquots as needed at a given time are
thawed and any unused, thawed material is
discarded.
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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STORAGE OF
BIOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS AND
MATERIALS
This technique ensures that a protein
solution is frozen and thawed only one time.

(It is imperative that all aliquots are labeled
carefully to avoid later confusion.)
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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STORAGE OF
BIOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS AND
MATERIALS
Biological materials should be stored in
freezers that are not "frost-free."
Frost-free freezers go through repeated
freeze-thaw cycles.
If frost-free freezers must be used, it is
possible to purchase insulated containers
that will help protect biological substances
from thawing.
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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STORAGE OF
BIOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS AND
MATERIALS
Glycerol is sometimes added to protein
solutions before placing in a freezer because
it keeps the protein front actually freezing,
prevents ice crystal formation, and therefore,
improves protein stability.
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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STORAGE OF
BIOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS AND
MATERIALS
Common to receive enzymes that are
stabilized with glycerol from suppliers.

Be aware, however, that glycerol can affect
subsequent experimental steps.
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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STORAGE OF
BIOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS AND
MATERIALS
Good practice to freeze proteins rapidly by
immersing them in a dry ice box and to thaw
them rapidly by placing them in lukewarm
water.

Rapid freezing and thawing is thought to
reduce exposure of the proteins to extremes
of ph or salt concentration.
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