Study Warns of Microfuge Tube Leaching

SAN MARCOS, Texas, April 21 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say some microfuge tubes commonly used in molecular biology laboratories might be causing measurement errors due to chemical leaching.

The microfuge tubes are often used to hold and store small samples. But researchers led by Texas State University-San Marcos Associate Professors Kevin Lewis and Gary Beall say the chemicals used in manufacturing the plastic tubes might be causing measurement errors for researchers.

The scientists said their findings suggest ultraviolet light-absorbing chemicals are capable of leaching from the polypropylene microtubes into samples, leading to erroneous measurements of nucleic acid concentration.

“It was quite surprising that leaching of chemical additives which absorb light at the same wavelengths as DNA and proteins had not been described before because it is so ubiquitous among commercially available plastic tubes and biochemists have been using these small plastic tubes for many decades,” Lewis said.

Although Lewis and Beall said they don’t have a solution for the problem, they say they’re encouraged by recent trends in microtube manufacturing.

“Some manufacturers have recently begun offering tubes that contain a reduced number of additives,” Lewis said, noting that appears to currently be the best way to reduce measurement errors due to leaching.

The study is reported in the journal BioTechniques.

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Categorized | Chemicals, Other
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