Pipetting is a fundamental technique that any researcher should have in their toolbox. When done correctly, it can help achieve accurate results and maintain consistency in laboratory experiments. However, problems may arise during pipetting if researchers are not properly trained or using low-quality pipettes.
The following will provide an overview of Pipetting 101: tips, tricks and troubleshooting for success.
Select the Appropriate Pipette
First, it is important to choose the right type of pipette for your application. Common types of laboratory pipettes are manual volumetric, disposable/reusable volumetric, multi-channel, and adjustable tip spacing. Depending on what you are using them for, you may need either a single- or multi-channel pipette.
To ensure accurate results, it is essential to calibrate your pipettes regularly and check for any leaks. Calibration of your pipettes should be done according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Additionally, make sure that all parts are in good working condition and that the tips fit tightly onto the pipette body.
Practice Good Technique
To ensure consistent results, your pipetting technique is key. When using a manual volumetric pipette, always aspirate slowly to avoid excessive evaporation of the liquid. Additionally, hold the pipette at an angle when transferring liquid to avoid bubble formation in the tip.
When using a multi-channel pipette, always aspirate and dispense liquid from the same height for all channels. Finally, when dispensing liquid, do not press too hard on the plunger as this can cause overflow of liquid or damage to the pipette.
Using proper technique is only one aspect of successful and accurate pipetting. Good habits can also help improve your results. Take regular breaks while pipetting to avoid fatigue, and be sure to always keep your work area free of distractions. Additionally, make sure to wear protective clothing such as gloves and goggles when working with hazardous materials or in the presence of aerosolized liquids.
Change Tips Regularly
In order to maintain accuracy and prevent contamination of samples, it is important to use new tips for each sample. If you are working with several different laboratory pipettes , be sure to use the appropriate tip for the pipette you are using and change it regularly. Additionally, make sure to dispose of used tips according to your laboratory’s protocols.
Practice Cleaning and Maintenance
Proper cleaning and maintenance of your pipette is essential to ensure accuracy and precision. It is important to use the right cleaning solutions for each type of pipette, as some may be too strong for certain materials. Additionally, it is important to clean the inside of the tip with a brush or swab to remove any residue that may affect accuracy.
Know the Basics of Troubleshooting
If your pipetting results are not accurate, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot the issue. First, check that all parts of the pipette are in good working condition and correctly assembled.
Next, check calibration and make sure that the liquid volumes you have selected are within range for the pipette. If none of those steps resolve the issue, it may be time to replace or repair your pipettes – contact a professional if this is necessary.
Pipetting can play an important role in conducting successful experiments and achieving accurate results. By following these tips, tricks and troubleshooting guidelines, you can ensure that you are using your pipettes correctly and efficiently. Remember, practice makes perfect! With enough practice and experience, you will be able to master the art of pipetting in no time.