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Testing Effect of Liquid Temperatures on Data Integrity

Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2007 - 22:00

(ARTEL: West Brook, Maine) -- Yellowstone National Park has been selected as the location for Mission No. 2 of the ARTEL’s Extreme Pipetting Expedition. At Yellowstone, ARTEL will test how pipetting liquids at a temperature different than the pipette (thermal disequilibrium) affects delivered volume, and data accuracy and precision. While today’s laboratories are usually temperature-controlled, it’s very common to handle liquids that are extremely hot or cold. For example, restriction enzymes used in nucleic acid work are frequently handled at ice temperature (0° C), and higher temperatures are encountered with handling mammalian cell cultures (37° C) or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) solutions (60° C or higher).

Because pipettes deliver different volumes when fluids are at different temperatures, laboratories need to account for the resulting volume variation. To draw attention to the importance of considering temperature disequilibrium in clinical testing, and help laboratories develop strategies to overcome this effect, ARTEL will release the results from mission No. 2 at the 2007 AACC Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo, in San Diego, California, July 15-19.

At AACC, ARTEL will also hold the Pipetting Olympics to reward laboratorians for superior pipetting skills, a major factor in data accuracy and precision. The competition will, for the first time, include multichannel pipetting competitions.

Yellowstone was selected as the site for mission No. 2 because it’s emblematic of thermal variation. The active geothermal features at Yellowstone include hundreds of geysers, steam vents and hot springs, all set in an alpine environment where air temperatures of 45° C have been recorded. Water and steam temperatures in Yellowstone range from below freezing to nearly 140° C (280 °F).  In addition to the well-known Old Faithful geyser, Yellowstone is also the natural home of Thermus aquaticus (the source of Taq DNA polymerase), which was first isolated from the park’s Fountain Geyser region. The Extreme Pipetting Expedition is a multiphase, yearlong scientific study to illustrate the effect of laboratory conditions on data integrity.

     More information can be found at www.artel-usa.com/extreme/press_rel1.htm.


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