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Best Practices in Ultracentrifugation

Essential tips and guidelines for enhancing safety and preserving sample integrity in ultracentrifugation

Ultracentrifugation is a crucial technique in scientific research, enabling the precise separation of components from a solution based on their size and density. To accomplish this, ultracentrifuges operate at high velocities, often exceeding 100,000 RPM. However, this can pose risks to lab safety and sample integrity if not managed correctly. The best way to mitigate these risks is by ensuring that all users have a comprehensive understanding of ultracentrifuge best practices, including precise sample preparation, appropriate rotor and vessel selection, and rigorous maintenance protocols. 

For a rotor to run smoothly and safely, the samples within it must be precisely balanced. Any imbalances beyond the allowable limits—specified by the rotor type—can lead to poor separation and critical rotor damage. Selecting rotors and vessels based on sample characteristics and throughput requirements is also vital for preventing chemical incompatibilities and protecting rotor and sample integrity. After selection and before each ultracentrifugation run, rotors and vessels should be thoroughly inspected. Additionally, implementing a proactive maintenance plan can help prevent critical equipment failures, ensuring consistent and reliable results. 

This resource provides a deep dive into the dos and don’ts of ultracentrifugation to enhance research, including:

  • Rules for balancing samples
  • Key considerations for rotor and vessel selection
  • Best practices for ultracentrifuge operation
  • Maintenance and sterilization tips for extending the life of your ultracentrifuge and ensuring sample integrity

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