Refrigerators and freezers are integral pieces of equipment in many research and clinical labs. Low temperatures are required to preserve samples and specimens, ensure vaccines and drugs do not degrade, and keep certain reagents from spoiling.
In this eBook, you’ll learn about:
- Selecting the best cold storage solution for your lab
- Ultralow cold storage 101
- Maintaining your lab’s cold chain
- How to choose an ultralow freezer for the lab
- Cold storage: cold hard facts about managing your laboratory freezer
- Cold storage in the pharmaceutical laboratory
COLD STORAGE RESOURCE GUIDE
Selecting the Best Cold Storage Solution for Your Lab
Ultralow Cold Storage 101
Maintaining Your Lab’s Cold Chain
How to Choose an Ultralow Freezer for the Lab
Cold Storage: Cold Hard Facts About Managing Your Laboratory Freezer
Cold Storage in the Pharmaceutical Laboratory
Selecting the Best Cold Storage Solution for Your Lab
The costs of running the unit, as well as sample type, are key determining factors when purchasing
By Ryan Ackerman
How does the type of sample being stored influence which type of cold storage unit is ideal?
The type of sample being stored will directly affect the type of freezer required. General purpose freezers with a range of -20°C to -30°C are ideal for enzymes and biochemical reagents. Low temperature freezers in the range of -30°C to -45°C are suitable for biological samples, vaccines, and blood products. Ultra-low temperature freezers in the range of -45°C to -86°C are used for drugs, viruses, bacteria, cell preparations, tissue samples, and long-term storage. Knowing your sample type and applications beforehand will help streamline the purchase process.
How will the energy requirements of an ULT affect the overhead costs of the laboratory?
A commonly overlooked factor in the purchase of an ULT is the energy needed to operate it. ULTs must work relentlessly in order to maintain their extremely low temperatures, and in some cases a conventional style ULT can consume up to as much energy as the average American household. Over time, innovations in compressor technology, cabinet design, and insulation have ushered in an era of energy efficient ULTs which can help alleviate the energy draw—and as a result— operation costs.
How do samples that are volatile or explosive affect the type of cold storage required?
For samples and reagents which are considered flammable or hazardous (typically found in Class 1, Division 1, Group C, and Group D environments), an explosion proof freezer should be utilized. These are designed to protect lab workers, the environment, and stored materials. They include a spark- free interior and exterior, manual defrost, plug-free cords, and are CFC/HCFC free to prevent ignition of flammable or volatile materials.
Laboratory automation and robotics solutions come in a variety of configurations. When purchasing, look for a company that will work with you to identify the instrument that will work best with your needs. For complex or custom applications, look for manufacturers with modular instruments that can be exactly tailored to your purposes. These instruments are also more likely to be expandable in the future and will therefore meet your needs for years to come.
Removing frost on a regular basis is important in taking care of your lab fridge or freezer as it will affect uniformity, energy consumption, and possibly product viability long-term. Having the correct voltage and regularly cleaning filters are also crucial to proper operation. In addition, users should avoid storing things on top of the fridge or freezer, otherwise air won’t be able to properly circulate, and the unit will overheat.
Ultralow Cold Storage 101
An overview of ultralow cold storage for laboratory applications
by Rachel Muenz
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine storage at very cold temperatures became necessary to maintain their effectiveness, and ultralow temperature (ULT) freezers have become a crucial aspect of vaccination campaigns worldwide. Through these global campaigns, we have seen how important maintaining an effective cold supply chain has been in ensuring vaccines get to their destinations safely and securely.
What is ultralow cold storage?
ULT cold storage refers to freezers used mainly in the life sciences and clinical labs to store critical samples for long periods of time. While the standard household freezer can provide temperatures as cold as -20°C, ULT freezers offer temperatures between -40 to -80°C (-40°F to -123°F). Like regular freezers, ULT freezers come in chest and upright formats. Key applications include:
Storage for biomolecules
Storage for products for medical procedures, including bone marrow, blood, and blood components
Storage for biospecimens such as brain samples
How do ultralow freezers work?
Many ULT freezers achieve their low temperatures through a cascade refrigeration system. While most regular and low-temperature freezers make use of just one compressor to achieve their coldest temperatures, ULT freezers have a second compressor to get down to -80°C or colder. The refrigerants used are also a key part of how ULT freezers work.
How much do ultralow freezers cost?
ULT freezers are certainly not cheap, with the initial capital cost of a brand-new freezer ranging from $12,000-40,000 USD, depending on the size and dimensions of the unit and which features you opt for, while used options can be found for around $4,000-7,000 USD. Given the energy demands of achieving such low temperatures, in spite of the greater energy efficiency of modern ULTs, each can cost around $480 USD per year to run, depending on its size, what is stored in the unit, how it’s used, and the environment it’s kept in.
How are ultralow freezers transported?
Given their size, ULT freezers are not easy to transport, requiring large trucks to get to their final destination and either mechanical lifts or plenty of manpower to unpack and unload once they arrive. This makes it especially important for lab staff to come up with a plan before their new ULT freezer gets to the lab. There are several things to consider before the freezer arrives:
Have a plan for how the ULT freezer will get to its location in the lab or facility (this is especially important if the freezer will be on an upper floor)
Ensure the temperature of the ULT freezer’s final location can be controlled between 15°C-32°C and that the room is adequately ventilated
Measure hallways, door openings, and ceiling heights in advance to ensure the freezer can fit
Ensure the ULT freezer is supplied with the proper voltage, from a dedicated outlet
Make sure your monitoring system is set to go
If you don’t have a receiving dock at your facility, make sure you have an area set up for unloading
According to experts, once the ULT freezer arrives, it’s always a good idea to carefully inspect the unit and notify the delivery service right away if you notice any damage that may have occurred during shipping. Users will also need to allow quite a bit of time for their ULT freezer to get down to its set temperature, with some systems taking between eight to 10 hours to get down to their set temperature.
Care and maintenance of ultralow freezers
According to experts, there are a few key steps to looking after your ULT freezer, which will typically last around 10 years if maintained properly:
Clean the condenser filter and replace when needed
Vacuum the condenser
Defrost the freezer on a regular basis
Read the manual
If samples are irreplaceable, users may want to purchase a service plan or extended warranty to ensure proper maintenance and reduce downtime
Monitoring systems—available either through third-party companies or the freezer’s original manufacturer—are an option for many new ULT freezers that will let users know if something goes wrong to prevent the loss of critical samples. For example, if the temperature rises above the freezer’s setpoint or a door is left ajar, alarms will sound and the user or facility manager will receive an email, text, or phone call about the issue so it can be addressed quickly.
The latest in ultralow freezers for the laboratory
Apart from the monitoring systems mentioned above, today’s ULT freezers include a number of advancements over older models such as:
Increased energy efficiency and, thus, lower cost to operate
Advanced alarms and data logging systems
Backup cooling systems in case of power failure
More advanced insulation
What to consider when choosing a ULT freezer
While budget and application are the two most important factors to consider when selecting which ULT freezer is best for your lab, there are a number of other considerations, including:
Green practices for operating ULT freezers
Due to the amount of energy ULTs require to get down to such cold temperatures, they have a significant impact on a lab’s environmental footprint. In increasing the environmental sustainability of laboratories, there are a few ways lab staff can decrease the environmental impact of their ULT freezers:
Use high-density storage containers for samples to maximize existing space
Make sure you have a proper sample inventory system to minimize time spent searching for samples with the freezer door open
Clean out your freezer regularly to discard items/samples that are no longer needed or viable
Remove dust and frost from the ULT freezer’s intake and coils
If you don’t need to run your freezer at the coldest temperatures (-70°C or -80°C), don’t!
Once a product known only to the areas of science that use them, ULT freezers are pieces of technology that the general public is becoming more familiar with, as they will continue to play an essential role in delivering COVID-19 vaccines and helping to bring the pandemic to an end. It is also expected that future vaccine technology will make use of ULT technology.
Blizzard™ -86°C Ultralow Temperature Freezers
Blizzard™ Ultralow Temperature (ULT) Freezers surround the storage chamber with vacuum insulated and/or polyurethane foam filled panels to provide greater temperature uniformity and maximize total storage space. Our dual compressor system maintains consistent storage temperatures without compromising on energy efficiency. NuAire Blizzard™ Ultralow Temperature Freezers are the safer choice for your cold storage needs.
Maintaining Your Lab’s Cold Chain
Refrigerators and freezers are integral pieces of equipment in many research and clinical labs
By Erica Tennenhouse
Keeping cool outside of the lab
Refrigerators and freezers are integral pieces of equipment in many research and clinical labs. Low temperatures are required to preserve samples and specimens, ensure vaccines and drugs do not degrade, and keep certain reagents from spoiling. Often, though, temperature-sensitive materials must be collected or transported beyond the confines of the lab.
Maintaining the cold chain is a considerable challenge, but one that can be readily addressed with the right portable cold storage system.
Rise of the cold chain
Demand for portable cold storage is on the rise. This is being driven, in part, by the explosion of research targeting new cell therapies with the promise of personalized and preventive medicine. The clinical trials associated with this work, along with growing demand for exported plasma, necessitate the movement of samples between laboratories and health care facilities worldwide.
For manufacturers of laboratory cold storage equipment, this means an increase in requests for small cold and ultracold storage units, especially in remote clinical locations. These smaller units are ideal for storing small numbers of samples or vials without the investment or expense or large, research-style freezers.
Agents of cool
Dry ice is a common means of preservation, as it is readily available and relatively cheap. However, using containers filled with dry ice presents a temperature maintenance challenge. Specifically, when vials are placed in dry ice, only a small zone above the ice stays below –50°C. This means fragile, temperature-sensitive samples are exposed to partial thawing and freeze-thaw cycles that encourage ice recrystallization damage.
To address this problem, dry ice–based ultralow-temperature (ULT) transporters and mobile workstations specifically designed to maintain stable low-temperature work are an option. These units can keep multiple cryostorage boxes safe while critical patient samples are being collected, processed, and transferred to storage. Additionally, dry ice is an affordable cooling agent, offering a cost-effective solution for many labs.
Liquid nitrogen (LN2) is another primary source of chilling capacity, with products aimed at keeping samples below their “glass transition” temperature of approximately–130°C. LN2 dewars feature durable, vacuum-sealed, double-walled aluminum that insulates the container and limits LN2 burn-off while providing structural rigidity for longer transport durations. In addition, there has been product innovation in novel container construction that bridges the gap between corrugated and vacuum-insulated aluminum.
As for portable freezers, technology has come a long way. The ability to have small and portable sample storage at –80°C is a significant advancement. These small, portable ULT freezers can be run off a 12-volt battery. In the event of a power failure, you could simply pick up the 40-pound freezer, move it to your vehicle, and run it for a period of time off the car battery until power is restored. This feature is particularly useful in remote locations, where emergency power might not be available.
Better products, better service
At some point, development scientists stopped thinking in terms of what’s ‘good enough’ to keep things cold and started to use materials that allow better temperature efficiency and incorporating electronic design that allows temperature tracking and connectivity.
While the products are certainly advancing, some of the most significant advances in portable cold storage have been on the service side. There are a number of companies offering services, which has led to very robust turnkey offerings, making it much easier for end users to deal with their cold chain needs—it can be very complicated to independently manage and verify the critical handoffs and storage.
How to Choose an Ultralow Freezer for the Lab
What to consider before purchasing an ultralow temperature freezer
by Andy Tay, PhD
Most biological materials from simple biomolecules like oligonucleotides and proteins to complex entities like cells and tissues are sensitive to heat. In order to store these materials for analysis and characterization, they have to be stored in ultralow temperature (ULT) freezers that go as low as -80°C. In some cases, users may even consider cryogenic freezers that can go as low as -150°C for longer periods of sample storage.
Factors to consider when purchasing a ULT freezer
A variety of factors come into the picture before purchasing ULT freezers. Besides cost, other considerations include freezer capacity, physical footprint, and energy efficiency.
Capacity: The capacity of the ULT freezer is an important factor to consider because it impacts the total amount of biological materials that can be stored. Generally, the larger the freezer volume, the more costly it will be to buy and operate. Therefore, if only a small storage volume is needed, a smaller ULT freezer is preferred as it will lead to lower long-term operating costs and a smaller physical footprint.
Physical footprint: Lab space can be limited, and it is best if the ULT freezer takes up minimal space so additional space can be freed up for other lab purposes. Upright ULT freezers have less physical footprint compared to the chest design. Upright ULT freezers also tend to have larger volumes and are therefore preferred for most labs. However, for labs that may have researchers who face physical challenges in height and mobility, the chest design is much more inclusive.
Energy efficiency: ULT freezers are typically equipped with designs such as double doors, gasket seals and polyurethane heat insulation to maximize energy efficiency. However, depending on the type of refrigerant and compressor they have, they can differ significantly in terms of their energy consumption up to a 50 percent difference, leading to significant differences in long-term operating costs.
Temperature uniformity: Biological samples such as patient tissues are precious and can be hard to come by, and thus it is of paramount importance that ULT freezers are able to provide uniform temperature. One of the most important factors affecting the temperature homogeneity is the recovery time to -80°C after warm air outside the freezer rushes in during door opening. It is preferable to get ULT freezers with multiple inner doors for different storage shelves instead of a single inner door for the entire freezer. This way, only the temperature of the shelf of interest is affected during door opening, and it consumes less energy to reset the freezer’s interior temperature.
Backup cooling: Cooling technology in ULT freezers normally uses the cascade refrigeration system which requires electricity. However, when electrical supplies are disrupted, cooling ends, and the integrity of stored biological samples will be compromised. Hence, it is also useful to consider whether ULT freezers have a backup cooling system or if such a system can be added at an additional cost. The typical choice of a backup cooling system is liquefied nitrogen (maintains temperature down to -80oC) or carbon dioxide (maintains temperature down to -70°C).
Noise: As a result of the intensive fan-cooling needed, ULT freezers can be a significant source of noise in the lab. Noise can distract researchers and even reduce their productivity. ULT freezers come with different noise levels. Generally, the larger the freezer, the louder the noise they generate as they need to be cooled down more substantially to provide a uniform temperature. Manufacturers usually provide the noise level generated by ULT freezers—as a point of reference—a normal conversation generates about 60 decibels although the enclosed area of labs can amplify the noise intensity.
User interface: Newer designs of ULT freezers can be connected to Wi-Fi and be remotely controlled. This can be useful in situations where it is important to monitor freezer temperature during non-working hours or in situations when the pandemic disrupts in-person lab activities. Some user interface options include buttons and touchscreens that researchers can use to access freezer information like voltages and numbers of door openings, and adjust settings like the set temperature, allowable temperature range, and alarm.
Innovations in ULT freezers
ULT freezers are essential pieces of equipment for biological research. Over the years, their designs have become more innovative to enhance their reliability to preserve sample integrity while reducing operating costs and improving ergonomics.
Sample integrity: There is an increase in the number of bio- banks for storing precious biological samples for analysis. These endeavors require reliable ULT freezers to protect the integrity of samples. Newer freezer designs come with backup cooling in case of electrical disruption or failure and remote access for alarm notifications. Furthermore, by incorporating more efficient fan cooling technology and frost-resistant gasket door seals, door opening recovery time is reduced to provide a uniform temperature. For instance, newer ULT freezer products use vacuum insulation panel technology that reduces heat transfer from the external environment into the freezer much better than conventional materials like polyurethane and foam beads. Most ULT freezers still come with start-stop compressor systems but others also include helium-charged piston engines that run continuously to eliminate surge currents and mechanical failures that could compromise sample integrity.
Environmental sustainability: With increasing awareness of the carbon footprints from research labs, manufacturers are also improving their designs. The compressors used are more efficient now and are even equipped with learning algorithms to optimize energy consumption. Refrigerants used in ULT freezers nowadays are also mostly free from harmful green- house gases like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC). Additionally, high-quality materials used as insulators and gasket seals also help to reduce the energy consumption needed to maintain freezer interior temperature.
Ergonomics: Noise from ULT freezers can be a significant source of disturbance in enclosed lab spaces. Other ergonomic designs include having access panels at eye level to enable comfortable inspection, introducing castor wheels to facilitate the relocation of freezers, and shaping door handles in the form of a hand grip for easy door opening.
Easy maintenance: Manufacturers have also introduced innovative materials with anti-frost properties to reduce frost and ice build-up that can be cumbersome to remove while adversely affecting temperature uniformity.
A variety of ULT freezer products exist on the market. Depending on their needs and preferences, users have diverse models to choose from based on the scale of their lab operation, budget, space, and institutional environmental policies.
MPR-S500H-PA High Performance Pharmaceutical Refrigerator from PHCbi
The PHCbi brand MPR-S500H/RH-PA pharmaceutical refrigerator (19.4 cu.ft.) is designed to meet CDC requirements for safe vaccine storage. Engineered for use in busy pharmacies and clinics, this refrigerator is designed to achieve quick temperature recovery after door openings and tolerate high ambient temperatures. It features cooling technology using SNAP compliant natural refrigerants, energy-saving variable-speed compressors and strategically directed airflow for temperature uniformity, even at load capacity. An automatic defrost function maintains proper cooling performance, without impacting storage temperatures. Dual, sliding doors conserve floor space and permit installation in tight areas.
The MPR-S500H-PA comes standard with 6 adjustable shelves, and the MPR-S500RH-PA comes standard with 6 adjustable shelves on the left side of the chamber and 5 fixed sliding drawers on the right side of the chamber.
Cold Storage: Cold Hard Facts About Managing Your Laboratory Freezer
Cost and energy efficiency have become critical considerations when purchasing any piece of laboratory equipment, especially ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezers
By Trevor Henderson, PhD
ULT freezers represent some of the most energy- demanding pieces of laboratory equipment available and are ubiquitous in virtually every laboratory environment. When new, ULT freezers operating at their standard set points of -70°C or -80°C consume approximately 16 to 22 kilowatt hours (kWh) per day. After years of service this amount may climb to over 30 kWh per day, an amount in excess of the energy usage of the average American home according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. For large organizations and academic institutions that may have thousands of freezers onsite, operational costs can be astonishing and even marginal improvements in efficiency can have substantial return.
When considering laboratory cold storage needs, researchers require short- and long-term sample storage solutions that maintain both reliable storage conditions and accurate temperature control. For many lab managers, however, minimizing both energy consumption and operating costs is of primary importance. Fortunately, through simple best practices for cold storage coupled with manufacturer-driven innovations in design and compressor technology, enormous savings can quickly be realized.
A place for everything
Keeping your ULT freezer organized can be a challenge However, consider that for every minute an upright ULT freezer door is open, it takes approximately 10 minutes for the freezer to recover to its set point. If your inventory is organized, you will greatly reduce the running time of your freezer and minimize the risks of compromising valuable samples by exposing them to fluctuating temperatures. There are several options available to assist in sample organization, including customized racking options, secondary storage containment, and electronic inventory systems that utilize bar codes or radio frequency identification. Software inventory control systems may also assist in tracking samples both in and out of your freezer while streamlining workflow and identifying old or unneeded samples that should be disposed of. For researchers who desire a fully automated solution, advanced freezers that combine inventory management software with a fully robotic vial retrieval system are an option. These systems have the ability to store thousands of samples and retrieve them quickly without the risk of accidental handling mishaps and without compromising the temperature of the containment area.
Keeping your ULT freezer properly filled can also keep operating costs down. Freezers that are too bare have little thermal mass and also may lose cold air rapidly when the door is open. This can be remedied by filling empty space with frozen gel packs or bottles full of ice. Conversely, freezers that are overfilled may lead to wide temperature variations due to passive natural convection potentially damaging sensitive samples. Keeping an accurate inventory and properly disposing of unneeded samples will keep your freezer operating at peak efficiency.
Choosing the right size of ULT freezer for your lab may not be as simple as it seems. While smaller freezers would seem to be more efficient, in fact, small ULT freezer units operate with much higher intensity (energy consumption per cubic foot) than larger freezers do. This is owing to smaller freezers having a larger surface-to-volume ratio, coupled with the fact that smaller compressor motors are less electrically efficient and smaller compressors are less mechanically efficient than larger ones. Considering that a small 3 cu. ft. ULT freezer may operate with intensity up to 600 percent greater than a comparable larger model, it is advisable to purchase freezers with capacities of 20 cu. ft. or larger to maximize energy efficiency within the laboratory environment. If your laboratory needs are not so great as to require a full-size freezer, you may consider sharing resources with another lab and gaining some valuable floor space.
In considering size, you should also examine the sample sizes you are working with. If you are storing 0.5 mL samples using 2 mL screw-top vials, your storage is not particularly efficient. In this case, lab managers may wish to encourage or subsidize the use of micro-vials and 96-well plates. These are readily available from most distributors and can increase your sample storage capacity by nearly 60 percent.
Out with the cold, in with new
One of the fastest ways to achieve cost and energy savings is through the retirement of old or outdated ULT freezers. Technological improvements in compressor design, insulation, and cabinet design have resulted in considerable improvements in sample storage efficiencies. Be aware, however, that freezer efficiency will decrease over time owing to inadequate maintenance, seal degradation, coolant loss, mechanical failure, and degraded lubricants. In many cases, unmaintained ULT freezers may be drawing up to four times as much power as a newer or well-maintained freezer. These freezers are often neglected, sitting in hallways, and filled with unneeded or forgotten samples. Regular testing of your lab’s freezers will quickly identify those in need of repair or retirement. In ad- dition, regular maintenance is highly recommended for your cold storage equipment if you want it to age gracefully. While many small repairs, when performed early, may be relatively cheap to service, if you wait too long you may be faced with an expensive compressor rebuild or replacement.
If you are engaged in a new build, it might be advisable to consider process cooling with a chilled water loop. Ultra- low temperature freezer manufacturers (such as Panasonic) that offer optional water cooling within their cascade cooling cycle can offer dramatic savings and reduced ecological footprint for your lab. Such systems operate by removing heat from the condenser across a heat exchanger and channeling it out of the system through exiting water. This translates into less heat generation by the freezer unit, allowing for substantial savings in air-conditioning costs for the laboratory. Further, the extracted heat can be used elsewhere in the lab for water or environmental heating systems.
To properly manage your cold storage needs, it is necessary to plan for the future. Consider involving your lab in the development of a plan toward continuous improvement. This may mean developing a freezer rebate program to assist with the retirement of aging equipment or creating incentives to clean out existing space. In addition, seek expert advice from manufacturers when purchasing and maintaining equipment that is energy efficient and offers long-term investment benefits. Finally, make certain you engage all the key stakeholders in developing a management plan for your ULT storage needs; small contributions from everyone involved can amount to substantial overall savings.
Protect what matters: your samples
The sample protection you need: Eppendorf CryoCube® F570 freezer series is based on a strong and dynamic cooling system that is mandatory for fast recovery to -80 °C after door opening. A short recovery time is important to your samples cool, and safe.
The flexibility you deserve: the Eppendorf CryoCube F570 series offers a 5-compartment model as a standard with height adjustable shelves.
The sustainability you are looking for: the Eppendorf CryoCube® F570 series is also the first ULT freezers to be both ENERGY STAR and ACT certified for high energy efficiency and low environmental impact.
Cold Storage in the Pharmaceutical Laboratory
Adherence to vaccine cold-chain guidelines can be extended to storage of the entire developing biologic pharmacopeia
by Brandoch Cook, PhD
Biologics require refrigeration or ultra-low temperature (ULT) storage, meaning that pharmaceutical laboratories must have cold-chain, temperature-controlled logistics in place to ensure quality in production, storage, and distribution. Moreover, the preceding development process—from concept through screening, validation, and multiple rounds of clinical trials—requires proper management and movement of biological samples, human specimens, reagents, and mate- rials from individual laboratories to and among various GLP and GMP facilities.
In one sense, biologics are the most contemporary and advanced medicines, based on revolutionary understandings of antigen presentation and acquired immunity, coupled with the technological capabilities to generate recombinant proteins, and raise and purify antibodies at industrial scale. However, a biologic is any pharmaceutical product generated in an animal or cell-based system that, because of its biological activity and liquid composition, requires special storage and distribution parameters to mitigate loss or re-treatment of affected patients. The original biologic is the vaccine, regulation of which predates official establishment of the FDA itself. The Biologics Control Act of 1902, passed in the wake of children’s deaths from contaminated diphtheria vaccines, codified a series of standards ensuring vaccine purity and integrity. Iterations of control over ensuing years established guidelines for cold storage, and most recently coalesced around the NSF/ ANSI 456 standard.
When vaccines were the only biologics, their storage largely required temperatures in the 2-8° C range, something a simple household or laboratory refrigerator can usually handle. However, refrigerator design propagates temperature fluctuations and hot/cold zones near walls, fans, and combined -20° C frost-free freezer elements. These geographical variables can prove disastrous, causing obligate liquid samples to freeze and become worthless both in economic and medical terms. Mapping airflow and placing items accordingly and sparingly, or placing glass bottles full of water inside doors, can mitigate these shortcomings to an extent. But the best solution is to use purpose-built pharmaceutical-grade refrigeration, with the following considerations and features:
Appropriate size and type (compact, under-counter, up- right) to comfortably hold the maximum quantity/volume that will be stored at the busiest time of production
Temperature range and controls, with measurements at set intervals
Digital data logging for temperature readings and fluc- tuations/excursions, using a buffered probe rather than a thermometer
Compliance with NSF/ANSI and CDC standards and guidelines
Strict SOPs that include plans for equilibrating initial temperature, unit placement, movement, and an action plan for power failure
Beyond refrigeration, the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed cold storage requirements and put unprecedented pressures on supply chains with the advent of RNA vaccines. The lability of RNA requires constant ULT storage (-70°C) and avoidance of temperature fluctuations or freeze/thaw cycles before use. Cell therapies such as CAR-T necessitate even colder temperatures in the range of liquid nitrogen (-140° C), to maintain long-term viability of precious genetically edited cell cultures. With any ULT storage system, there are additional needs to have duplicate units and adequate floor space for sample/product transfers when frost builds up over time, and to incorporate unit oil management into SOPs. Automated data logging and remote alarms can lessen much of the hands-on management of ULT systems.
NuAire is committed to bringing you the highest-quality, most dependable laboratory products on the market. For over half a century, we have been universally recognized as one of the world’s leading providers of reliable equipment for the most demanding environments, including Biosafety Cabinets, CO2 Incubators, Laminar Air Flow Workstations, Ultra Low Temperature Freezers, Centrifuges, Animal Transfer Stations, Pharmacy Compounding Isolators, Polypropylene Fume Hoods, Polypropylene Casework, and Custom Solutions.
For more than 50 years, PHCbi brand products have met the needs of the life sciences, offering a unique perspective on scientific research. We play a critical role in global product development for a variety of applications and have a well-established reputation as a manufacturer of high-quality and innovative laboratory equipment. Our product lines include CO2 and multigas incubators, ultra-low temperature freezers, cryogenic and biomedical freezers, and high-per- formance refrigerators.
Eppendorf is a leading life science company that develops and sells instruments, consumables, and services for liquid-, sample-, and cell handling in laboratories worldwide. Its product range includes pipettes and automated pipetting systems, dispensers, centrifuges, mixers, spectrometers, and DNA amplification equipment as well as ultra-low tem- perature freezers, fermentors, bioreactors, CO2 incubators, shakers, and cell manipulation systems. Consumables such as pipette tips, test tubes, microtiter plates, and single-use bioreactor vessels complement the range of highest-quality premium products.
Cold Storage Resource Guide