How Safe are Your Samples? Beware of Leachables and Extractables!
Life science laboratories worldwide use disposable plasticware in many shapes and forms. Plastic pipet tips, reaction tubes or storage vessels frequently come into prolonged contact with important biomaterial. Often, this plasticware is assured to be sterile, free of pyrogens and devoid of enzymatic activity. Consequently, the majority of scientists does not contemplate the possible perils inherent in these consumables for their samples. This can be a costly mistake. Bioactive leachables and extractables from those plastic components can pose serious risks to the biomaterial stored in or exposed to them.
But what exactly are leachables and extractables? Leachables are chemical compounds from plasticware that directly seep into the sample under normal or prolonged storage conditions. Extractables, on the other hand, are chemical components that can be extricated from the plasticware using polar or non-polar solvents, or under extreme heat conditions.
How do these compounds get into the plasticware?
So what can one do? Luckily, not all plasticware is created equal, and several companies have begun to implement extensive testing regimens to evaluate their consumables. How? Click here to see what the industry is doing now to combat the problem of leachables and extractables in laboratory plasticware!
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Steffen Porwollik, PhD
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