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How Do You Sterilize Pipette Tips?
Friday, 27 August 2021

Pipette tips are prone to contamination by various microorganisms and spores when left unsupervised. Most laboratories employ a system where foils cover the pipettes tips to prevent any moisture retention. Sterile pipette tips produce the most accurate results with utmost safety. Marathonls has a guest post dedicated to such practices and educates the public about ethical and safe practices within the workroom. It is necessary to invest in the best materials to achieve detailed measurements.

Here are some instructions on sterilizing pipette tips:

 
1) Cleaning: One has to clean a pipette tip before the process of sterilization. This process removes any extra contaminant that may come in the way of sterilization. Sterilization is an aggressive procedure that removes every minute impurity. Run water through the pipette before cleaning it. Use proper equipment like gloves and glasses since this procedure might require using acids.
 
Check whether the pipette is compatible with the acids before using them on it. A pipette gets contaminated by aerosols present within the laboratories. It sticks to the inside of the pipettes and causes further contamination.
 
This contamination can be from pipette-to-sample, sample-to-pipette, or sample-to-sample. Change pipette tips after each sample to prevent such practices.
 
2) Sterilization: This process involves heating, steaming, using chemicals, and more to remove bacteria and spores. It makes sure they are killed and removed once the procedure is complete. Autoclaving is used to perform this process, where moist heat passes through the pipettes and the tips with extreme pressure. A specific temperature remains constant for a period that destroys the microorganisms.
 
Pipette tips go through slightly easier processes than the whole pipette itself. This guest post talks about sterilization of the tips alone using autoclaving or other procedures.
 
Open the pipette tray slightly and drop the tips inside. The autoclave has a dry setting that can achieve a dry pipette tip that needs just one more process to go. Remember that this autoclave is the best process for dry loads since liquids boil over the top. After the autoclaving, wait for a while for the tips to dry on their own and cool down. One can use a heated cabinet for drying it more efficient compared to the autoclave.
 
These steps are unnecessary if one purchases sterile pipette tips. These tips have been sterilised in advance and are immediately usable. Putting them through a second sterilization process is a waste of time and energy. Autoclaving is a process that runs for 20 minutes before producing optimum results. Do not hurry it since it might depreciate the quality of sterilization.
 

Chemical sterilization:

 
In the absence of autoclaves, one should use chemical sterilants that can carry out the process effectively. Disassemble the pipette to sterilize every part carefully. Chemicals like Hydrogen peroxide, Ethanol, and Sodium Hypochlorite are effective sterilants that differ in their sterilizing time.
 
It takes about 6-10 hours for each of these chemicals to affect the tips and remove every impurity in them. Compared to autoclaves, these are much longer and ultra-careful processes that need constant attention. It is best to invest in autoclaves since the current scenario demands faster results in laboratories.
 

Maintenance techniques and tips:

 
Store the pipettes in a dry place to avoid any moisture from settling onto them. Remove the tips from the main body before storing them. Vertical storing allows for negligible damage and adulteration. When working with the pipette, make sure to pour the necessary solvent at least thrice to remove any contaminants and produce accurate results. Lastly, while passing bleach solution through it, ensure the saturation is minimum. This precaution helps with lessening corrosion and healthy equipment.
 
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