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Pipetting Extended Range of Tip Racks Reduces Plastic Waste in the Lab

Editor: MA Alexander Stark

In order to tackle the waste problem in labs, Integra has launched environmentally friendly Eco Racks for their Grip Tips.

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Low Retention Grip Tips ensure optimal liquid recovery to enhance the reproducibility of research results.
Low Retention Grip Tips ensure optimal liquid recovery to enhance the reproducibility of research results.
(Source: Integra)

The environmentally friendly tip racks from Integra contain 60 percent less plastic and are now available for 300 and 1250 μl Wide Bore, 300 µl Long and 1250 µl ShortS Grip Tips — as well as 12.5, 125, 300 and 1250 μl Low Retention options. The Eco Racks can also be paired with the company's reusable Pop Top Base.

Since there is not not one type of pipetting solution for every application, the supplier offers a variety of options alongside their standard Grip Tips to match the needs of specific laboratory workflows. For example, the 300 µl Long Grip Tips are 102 mm in length, allowing access to 100 mm or 1.4 ml tubes without the concern of contaminating the pipette shaft. At the other end of the scale, the 1250 µl Short Grip Tips enable users to pipette closer to the workbench, improving pipetting ergonomics for repeated high-volume pipetting tasks.

Wide bore tips are commonly used in cell culture workflows to reduce the shearing forces. Many steps in these protocols — such as cell detachment, sampling, seeding and cell-based assays — require mixing with a pipette, which can cause trauma to cells as they are repeatedly forced through the narrow orifice at the end of the tip. This can impact cell viability, spreading and proliferation, decreasing the reproducibility of results. Integra's 300 and 1250 μl Wide Bore Grip Tips have a larger aperture — with an inner diameter of 1.5 mm — to alleviate these shearing forces, helping to improve the consistency of cell-based applications.

According to the company, cell culture isn’t the only pipetting task that can benefit from the use of wide bore tips. These tips can also be used to reduce flow resistance when pipetting some non-aqueous solutions. For example, they allow very viscous solutions, e.g. 80 percent glycerol — to enter the tip more easily and can reduce foaming when dispensing washing agents such as Tween 20.

Low Retention Tips

Another consideration when choosing the right pipette tip is the physiochemical properties of the liquid. This can also have a significant impact on accuracy and precision, particularly at low volumes. Using standard pipette tips made of polypropylene to pipette low surface tension liquids — such as oils or solutions containing detergents — or viscous fluids common in some biological applications can cause the tips to take on hydrophilic properties, resulting in fluid retention as the sample adheres to the inner surface of the tip. Low Retention Grip Tips — developed to work with the manufacturer's range of manual and electronic pipettes — offer a solution to overcome this issue. Incorporating a polypropylene blend with increased hydrophobic properties, Low Retention Grip Tips ensure optimal liquid recovery to enhance the reproducibility of research results, the company states. This blended polypropylene approach was chosen over the silicone coating techniques commonly used for low retention disposable tips as it prevents residues washing or leaching out with the sample and negatively impacting results.

The new Eco Rack options do not require excessive attachment and ejection forces. The rim of the Grip Tip snaps over the lobes of the pipette, and the high lateral resistance ensures firm attachment and perfect alignment. The shoulder provides a positive stop to prevent over-tightening of the tip, meaning it can only be attached at that precise point and no further — the tip is either on or off. This design combats the common problem of leaking tips, or even tips completely falling off the pipette, regardless of how many side wall touch offs are performed.