Press Releases

Use laboratory consumables which do not interfere with your bioassays.

“Eppendorf Consumables: Solutions for Forensics” by Dr. Daniel Wehrhahn, Eppendorf AG, Hamburg

ABSTRACT:
In routine forensic DNA testing laboratories, the demand is still growing for high quality DNA preparations, high reproducibility in testing results, cost-effective methods and probably most importantly, the absence of contamination.

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“How tubes can affect your experiments” Application Note by Matthew Lieber, Dr. Lars Borrmann, and Daniela Marino

ABSTRACT:
It has been known for several years that chemicals (e.g., BPA and phlalates) can leach out of the plastic, such as toys and baby bottles. The impact of these chemicals on human health is well known. Recent scientific reports have now noted that chemicals used in the manufacturing of disposable plastic lab ware, such as slip agents or plasticizers, can leach out of the plastic and affect laboratory experiments leading to erroneous results.

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„On the disruption of biochemical and biological assays by chemicals leaching from disposable laboratory plastic ware – Research Gate“ by Aldo Olivieri, Owen S. Degenhardt, G. Reid McDonald, Deepak Narang, Isabelle M. Paulsen, Janna L. Kozuska, Andrew Holt

ABSTRACT:
Plastic consumables, used universally in bioscience laboratories, are presumed inert with respect to bioassay outcomes. However, it is clear that many pipette tips, microfuge tubes, and other plastic disposables leach bioactive compounds into assay solutions, profoundly affecting data and experimental interpretation. In this paper we discuss the nature and sources of leachates and review several examples of compromised bioassay data that speak to the probable widespread nature of this largely unrecognized source of error. Strategies for minimizing leachate interferences are discussed.

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“Bioactive Contaminants Leach from Disposable Laboratory Plastic ware” by G Reid McDonald, Alan L Hudson, Susan M J Dunn, Haitao You, Glen B Baker, Randy M Whittal, Jonathan W Martin, Amitabh Jha, Dale E Edmondson, Andrew Holt

ABSTRACT:
Disposable plastic ware such as test tubes, pipette tips, and multi well assay or culture plates are used routinely in most biological research laboratories. Manufacturing of plastics requires the inclusion of numerous chemicals to enhance stability, durability, and performance. Some lubricating (slip) agents, exemplified by oleamide, also occur endogenously in humans and are biologically active, and cationic biocides are included to prevent bacterial colonization of the plastic surface. We demonstrate that these manufacturing agents leach from laboratory plastic ware into a standard aqueous buffer, dimethyl sulfoxide, and methanol and can have profound effects on proteins and thus on results from bioassays of protein function. These findings have far-reaching implications for the use of disposable plastic ware in biological research.

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“On the Social Behaviour of Cells” by Andrei P. Sommer1, Dan Zhu1, Tim Scharnweber2, Hans-Joerg Fecht1,3
1. Institute of Micro and Nanomaterials, University of Ulm, 89081 Ulm, Germany
2. Institute for Biological Interfaces, Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, 76021 Karlsruhe, Germany
3. Institute for Nanotechnology, Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, 76021 Karlsruhe, Germany


ABSTRACT:
Polystyrene Petri dishes are in use in hundreds of thousands of laboratories worldwide. Cell culture experiments performed in them provide fundamental information in a wide range of applications, including but not limited to testing novel biomaterials and pharmaceuticals, and stem cell research. These experiments cost billions of dollars per year. In this study we report on a potential deficiency of polystyrene Petri dishes, possibly caused by an increase in interfacial pH under relevant culture conditions and affecting cell performance. We conclude that cell performance on Petri dishes could be improved by improving the Petri dishes. As a spin-off of our study we postulate the concept that cancer cells and stem cells are social. It is impossible to validate this concept on the basis of the model established in this paper. However, the coherence of our insights may encourage further study and lead to the development of a qualitative improvement of cell culture devices, including Petri dishes and culture flasks, to the identification of potential strategies for chemotherapy and chemoprevention that could suppress progression of metastasis, and to the establishment of improved settings for tissue engineering and stem cell research. An immediate recommendation of our study is to use chemically and biologically inert substrates for important cell culture experiments, for example, nano crystalline diamond.

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“Leachables and Extractables In Single-Use: Trends and Expectations Over Plastics Innovation” by Eric Langer, BioPlan Associates

ABSTRACT:
Single-use and disposable applications continue to be held back by concerns over leachables and extractables, and according to preliminary results from BioPlan Associates’ 12th Annual Report and Survey of Biopharmaceutical Manufacturers, vendors do not appear to be doing enough to help combat this trend. One of the most widespread concerns of the biopharmaceutical industry is plastics and their additives, by-products, and other non-fully-polymerized polymer and formulated plastics’ leachables affecting bioprocessing and related products.

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“Plastics hamper DNA assays - Chemicals leaching from lab plastic throw off results” by Alla Katsnelson

ABSTRACT:
Biologists using standard plastic test tubes to gauge the concentration of DNA and proteins in their samples may be getting wildly incorrect readings because chemicals are leaching out of the containers. An established way of assessing the concentrations and some key properties of DNA and proteins is to measure the levels of ultraviolet light the molecules absorb at wavelengths of between 220 and 260 nanometres.

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“More biologists report plastic contamination – Chemicals from lab equipment are ruining experiments worldwide” by Daniel Cressey

ABSTRACT:
Andrew Holt describes them as "horror stories". Ever since Holt published a paper describing how standard pieces of plastic laboratory equipment leached experiment-ruining chemicals into his assays, researchers across the world have been in touch about their own experiences. And manufacturers are starting to take steps that could provide a workaround for the problem.

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“Bioactive Contaminants Leach from Disposable Laboratory Plastic ware” by  G. Reid McDonald1,    Alan L. Hudson1, Susan M. J. Dunn, Haitao You, Glen B. Baker, Randy M. Whittal, Jonathan W. Martin, Amitabh Jha, Dale E. Edmondson, Andrew Holt

ABSTRACT:
Disposable plastic ware such as test tubes, pipette tips, and multiwell assay or culture plates are used routinely in most biological research laboratories. Manufacturing of plastics requires the inclusion of numerous chemicals to enhance stability, durability, and performance. Some lubricating (slip) agents, exemplified by oleamide, also occur endogenously in humans and are biologically active, and cationic biocides are included to prevent bacterial colonization of the plastic surface. We demonstrate that these manufacturing agents leach from laboratory plastic ware into a standard aqueous buffer, dimethyl sulfoxide, and methanol and can have profound effects on proteins and thus on results from bioassays of protein function. These findings have far-reaching implications for the use of disposable plastic ware in biological research.

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“Lab ware Leachables: Unrecognized Contaminants Skew Research Results” by Lynn Rasmussen, HTS supervisor at Southern Research Institute in Birmingham, AL, and chair of the SLAS Lab ware Leachables Special Interest Group (SIG)

ABSTRACT:
Awareness of leachates received a boost in 2008, when Science published a paper showing that bioactive contaminants leaching from plastic ware "demonstrate potent effects on enzyme and receptor proteins." Shortly thereafter, an article in the Journal of Biomolecular Screening identified a bioactive substance leaching from automated compound-handling plastic tips. "We need to do more to address this problem.

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“Extraction, Identification, and Functional Characterization of a Bioactive Substance From Automated Compound-Handling Plastic Tips” by John Watson, Emily B. Greenough, John E. Leet, Michael J. Ford, Dieter M. Drexler, James V. Belcastro, John J. Herbst, Moneesh Chatterjee and Martyn Banks

ABSTRACT:
Disposable plastic lab ware is ubiquitous in contemporary pharmaceutical research laboratories. Plastic lab ware is routinely used for chemical compound storage and during automated liquid-handling processes that support assay development, high-throughput screening, structure-activity determinations, and liability profiling. However, there is little information available in the literature on the contaminants released from plastic lab ware upon DMSO exposure and their resultant effects on specific biological assays. The authors report here the extraction, by simple DMSO washing, of a biologically active substance from one particular size of disposable plastic tips used in automated compound handling. The active contaminant was identified as erucamide ((Z)-docos-13-enamide), a long-chain mono-unsaturated fatty acid amide commonly used in plastics manufacturing, by gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy analysis of the DMSO-extracted material. Tip extracts prepared in DMSO, as well as a commercially obtained sample of erucamide, were active in a functional bioassay of a known G-protein-coupled fatty acid receptor. A sample of a different disposable tip product from the same vendor did not release detectable erucamide following solvent extraction, and DMSO extracts prepared from this product were inactive in the receptor functional assay. These results demonstrate that solvent-extractable contaminants from some plastic lab ware used in the contemporary pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) environment can be introduced into physical and biological assays during routine compound management liquid-handling processes. These contaminants may further possess biological activity and are therefore a potential source of assay-specific confounding artifacts. (Journal of Biomolecular Screening 2009:566-572)

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“Nonylphenol Ethoxylate Plastic Additives Inhibit Mitochondrial Respiratory Chain Complex” by Corinne Belaiche (1), Andrew Holt (2) & Ann Saada (1)
(1)    Metabolic Disease Unit, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel
(2)     Department of Pharmacology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

ABSTRACT:
The first and major entry point of electrons into the mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC)1 occurs through NADH-coenzyme Q reductase (complex I). Decreased complex I activity is associated with a wide range of conditions, including inherited mitochondrial diseases and neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson disease (1)(2). More than 60 natural and commercial compounds are reported to inhibit complex I activity, among them certain pesticides, agrochemicals, and MPTP (1-methyl-4-phenyl-1, 2, 3, 6-tetrahydropyridine), a neurotoxin that induces parkinsonism in humans; thus, exposure to these compounds may be harmful(3). We report here that nonylphenol ethoxylate (NP) surfactants leach from disposable laboratory plastic ware and inhibit mitochondrial complex I.

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“Interference with spectrophotometric analysis of nucleic acids and proteins by leaching of chemicals from plastic tubes” by L. Kevin Lewis, Michael H. Robson, Yelena Vecherkina, Chang Ji, and Gary W. Beall - Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, USA

ABSTRACT:
Absorbance spectroscopy is routinely used to monitor the concentrations of nucleic acids and proteins within solutions and to assess changes in their structure caused by interaction with chemicals or other biomolecules. Biological samples used for such analyses are manipulated and stored in small micro centrifuge tubes (micro tubes) composed of polypropylene plus several plastic additives. Here we demonstrate that normal handling of laboratory micro tubes causes leaching of light-absorbing chemicals into biological samples that interfere with spectrophotometric measurements. The leached chromophores absorbed UV light strongly at 220 and 260 nm, which are the wavelengths normally used to detect and quantitate proteins and DNA. Some common laboratory techniques, including sonication and PCR, were particularly effective inducers of leaching. The magnitude of the increase in absorbance was dependent upon both exposure time and heat history, with greatest induction after tubes were warmed to temperatures at or above 37°C. Mass spectrometry revealed that aqueous solutions stored in plastic micro tubes accumulate a complex mixture of leached chemicals with molecular masses of 200–1400 Da. Leaching was ubiquitous among commercially available brands of micro tubes, indicating a persistent source of error in biomolecule detection and concentration measurements.

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