What is a PCR workstation and how does it differ to a dead air box?

Syngene has partnered with AirClean Systems to provide a safe and dependable line of hoods, enclosures, and cabinets. These systems function to maintain a safe and clean environment for both the operator and the process. Selecting the right PCR cabinet can be a difficult decision due to the broad range of options available.

The most common PCR cabinet configurations are PCR and Dead Air workstations. It is important to comprehend the distinctions between the two workstations and which one best matches your work processes. Choosing the right workstation ensures reliable lab results and enhances efficiency.

What is a PCR workstation?

PCR workstations are essential in life sciences and molecular biology as they help prevent cross-contamination between samples in labs.

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) process involves amplifying and replicating millions to billions of copies of a specific DNA segment. Therefore, avoiding cross-contamination from airborne particles and equipment contaminants, such as pipettes, pipette tips, tube racks, and PCR tubes is crucial.

The main purpose of a PCR workstation is to offer an enclosed environment that inhibits cross-contamination. The surroundings must remain sterile for the length of the PCR procedure. The workstation is enclosed on three sides, with a sash in the front that permits the operator’s arms to enter the workspace.

High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are used to remove airborne pollutants. HEPA filters have an efficiency of 99.997 % at 0.3 microns. The UVTech controller guarantees that the filter is constantly operating at optimal efficiency and notifies the operators when it needs to be replaced.

What is a PCR workstation and how does it differ to a dead air box?

Image Credit: Synoptics Ltd

The system is also equipped with a UV-light timer. This shelf is used to sterilize and irradiate equipment employed in aseptic techniques. The sash safety switch automatically turns off the UV light while the station is in operation to protect the technician.

  1. Most PCR workstations have a laminar flow configuration in which room air enters and is cleaned by a pre-filter.
  2. The air then flows through the HEPA filter.
  3. Clean vertical laminar flow air enters the chamber and then recirculates clean air into the room.

What is a PCR workstation and how does it differ to a dead air box?

Image Credit: Synoptics Ltd

Dead air boxes are similar to PCR workstations, often causing confusion for customers in choosing the appropriate system. Both systems are enclosed on three sides with a front sash for operator access and feature UV sterilization for decontaminating the workspace and equipment.

The primary distinction between a dead air box and a PCR workstation is that in a dead air box, the air is ‘dead’, which means no airflow is generated. This circulation-free environment lowers the possibility of air particles coming into contact with the sample. This ‘dead air’ is ideal for the amplification and modification of DNA/RNA.

Both workstations are utilized to avoid cross-contamination between samples and provide a straightforward method for quickly sterilizing the work environment and equipment with UV light.

However, the dead air box does not protect against environmental contamination during experiments. Therefore, it is only necessary if the most sensitive detection of DNA/RNA segments and a contamination-free environment are not required.

About Synoptics Ltd

Synoptics is a prominent Cambridge-based company that has been at the forefront of manufacturing scientific-grade digital imaging systems, water purification systems, and vacuum ovens for over 30 years. The company is comprised of three divisions: Syngene, Synbiosis, and Fistreem, each specializing in specific areas of expertise. With a strong commitment to innovation and quality, Synoptics has established itself as a trusted provider of cutting-edge solutions in the scientific research and laboratory equipment industry.


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Last updated: Jun 20, 2024 at 4:33 AM

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