Thick and viscous liquids can create problems when pipetting as they have low elasticity, enter the tip more slowly than other liquids, and often stick to the wall when dispensed. There are, however, a few techniques that can alleviate the difficulties that arise when pipetting viscous liquids.
First and foremost, the researcher typically needs to pipette at slower speeds and pause before finishing every aspiration or dispense. This gives the liquid more time to move smoothly in and out of the tip.
Reverse pipetting is particularly useful for thick and viscous liquids. Here, the researcher will aspirate more liquid than required by dispensing the desired amount and discarding a smaller post-dispense volume as waste. This ensures that enough liquid will be dispensed with the majority of errors contained in the post-dispense.
Another benefit of reverse pipetting is the lack of blowout, i.e., the final push of air to expel all liquid out of the tips. Some liquids, particularly thick ones, tend to foam or form air bubbles when air is introduced, so reverse pipetting can help alleviate that issue.
Electronic pipettes can usually be programmed to accommodate post dispensing, so the pipette will aspirate extra liquid for the waste dispense.
How to use a pipette: Viscous liquids
Video Credit: INTEGRA Biosciences
About INTEGRA Biosciences
INTEGRA provides innovative solutions for Liquid Handling and Media Preparation applications which serve the needs of their customers in research, diagnostics and quality control laboratories.
Their instruments and plastic consumables are developed and manufactured in Zizers, Switzerland and Hudson, NH USA. In order to remain close to their customers, they maintain a direct sales and support organization in North America, the UK, France and Germany, as well as a network of over 100 highly trained distribution partners worldwide.
In recent years they have focused on developing a new and technologically advanced range of handheld electronic pipettes which are simple to use and meet the ergonomic needs of their customers.
Today they are proud to offer the widest range of electronic pipettes in the market spanning a range from single channel pipettes up to 384 channel bench-top instruments.
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