Asian Scientist Magazine (Sep. 1, 2022) — From isolating clinically relevant compounds to developing drug candidates, life science and pharmaceutical research relies on well-regulated workflows to generate accurate, reproducible results. Scientists are trained extensively to treat samples with utmost care, yet all too often, errors inevitably slip under the radar.
It may be easy to pin the blame on human mistakes like poor sample handling or failing to account for certain variables throughout the procedures. However, the quality of lab instruments used is just as critical to optimal workflows—minimizing the risk of introducing errors and achieving accurate results.
Without high-performance instruments, even seemingly simple procedures such as weighing samples or purifying water can be subject to inconsistencies. Those small deviations can spell all the difference when it comes to evaluating the efficacy of drugs or helping ensure the same procedure can be repeated in subsequent experiments.
In this feature, take a look at why lab solutions provider Sartorius’ portfolio of high-performance instruments are key to consistent and reliable workflows in highly integrated lab environments.
Customizing scales for every lab’s needs
A myriad of different lab workflows rely on a fundamental property: mass. For example, scientists prepare reference substances in high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis. Exact measurements for these standards is vital to characterizing the composition of the sample.
Weighing is also important when formulating drug products. Like following a recipe to a tee, drug developers must prepare strict concentrations of various compounds. Meanwhile, filter weighing is a key technique for air quality monitoring. Differences in the measured mass of the filter between one timeframe to the next would influence the results—making it difficult to quantify changes in air pollution levels.
However, with all these use cases and differences in the types of samples weighed, a stock-standard analytical balance might not solve all the laboratory’s evolving needs. To provide scientists with more flexibility and the highest levels of accuracy, Sartorius developed the Cubis® II Balance as the only lab scale with fully customizable hardware, software and connectivity.
Cubis® II has a range of 45 weighing modules, seven different draft shield options and 60 optional applications. In combination, there are thousands of possible configurations, allowing scientists to pinpoint the features that they need. For example, the Precision Balance has a maximum capacity between 320 g and 70,200 g, while the Ultra-Micro Balances can carry up to 2.1 g. Their automatic glass draft shields can be equipped with gesture sensors and ionizers to eliminate interference from electrostatic particles.
Besides the intuitive operation of these modules, Cubis® II is equipped with intelligent diagnostic systems and easy-to-navigate user interfaces. By making sample handling more ergonomic and integrating processes through seamless data management, the balance facilitates high repeatability for various workflows and minimizes the risk of human error during measurement.
The smart design and data connectivity features also lend themselves to more transparent workflows. With advanced audit trails and reporting functions, Cubis® II provides complete visibility or traceability from start to finish. Not only can scientists keep track of their data with confidence, but also comply with regulatory standards including the new European Pharmacopoeia.
Configure your Cubis® II Balance in 4 Easy Steps here.
Purifying water for the long-term
Given how vital water is to biology, it comes as no surprise that clean and pure water is also a pillar of biopharmaceutical experiments. It is a major component of buffers, additives and cell culture media, a backbone in cellular assays such as testing drug candidates against cancer cell lines.
However, contaminants can infiltrate the water supply—not only from the source or stock, but at any point in the workflow as well. In many cases, these impurities are far from negligible, especially for critical life science research that involve highly sensitive analyses or have low detection limits.
For example, ions can also interfere with other reagents in chemical reactions. The presence of organic material in the water can lead to false peaks in HPLC results, hence ultrapure water is often the go-to in such analyses.
To produce ultrapure water, ion exchange technologies and activated carbon are needed on top of regular reverse osmosis-based water filtering. Such extensive treatment is needed to minimize the presence of bacteria, endotoxins, and DNase or RNase enzymes used in genetics techniques.
Sartorius’ series of Arium® systems offer cost-efficient and reliable solutions to meet different water purification needs. The Arium® Pro VF system, for example, produces ultrapure water on-demand at any time, presenting an affordable option as opposed to commercial stocks of ultrapure water.
Even after purification, however, problems can arise where a dirty storage tank can introduce contaminants—compromising the entire supply of otherwise pure water. However, cleaning procedures for these tanks typically requires a lot of time and uses many chemicals. These run the risk of introducing unwanted chemicals into the system.
To forego the need for such a time-intensive method while preserving quality, the Arium® Bagtank system, uses disposable bags to help simplify maintenance procedures. This means only requiring a swap of the current bag out for a new one—taking mere minutes compared to long hours to clean the storage tank with chemical.
Besides the easy exchange of Arium® Bags, consistent water quality is also ensured for an extended period of time. Sartorius designed the Bagtank as a closed system to prevent secondary contamination, such as carbon dioxide pollution. A built-in ventilation filter with a valve effectively keeps the gas out, protecting the purified water for as long as it is stored.
Whether weighing or water purifying, it is clear that laboratory workflows are all about consistency and reproducibility. By providing customizable and innovative solutions, Sartorius is changing the game for the life sciences industry to ensure optimal workflows, minimal errors and fast yet reliable steps towards scientific progress.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.