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Industry Insight

Protect Your Precious Samples

Rectangle Image
Industry Insight

Protect Your Precious Samples

Earlier this year Thermo introduced a new blast freezer series aimed at researchers looking to accommodate a variety of vessels with a versatile and flexible sample preparation device for use prior to cold storage. Designed to properly prepare samples for long-term storage and reduce stress on a sample storage freezer, the XBF40 series freezers contain three individual compartments that allow users to rapidly freeze product at different points in time without jeopardizing the freeze profile of products already in the freezer.

To find out about the challenges this new series of freezers helps to overcome we spoke to Andrew Dunn, Thermo Scientific.  

By Jack Rudd, Editor, Technology Networks. 

JR: Could you explain the key benefits of rapidly freezing samples before moving them to storage?

AD: Blast freezers are designed to rapidly remove heat from a sample going into cold storage, so as to minimize the formation of ice crystals that can have a negative impact on the viability of cell membranes. Ice crystals are large in size, and can lead to the physical rupture of cell membranes, killing the cell if freezing is too slow. In addition, slow freezing can lead to water leaching out of the cell, reducing osmotic pressure and again causing cells to rupture.

Overlooking the need to blast freeze samples can lead to what is known as ‘freeze concentration’ whereby the formation of ice crystals can cause the salts and proteins in the buffer to become concentrated, causing stress on the stability of proteins. In order to minimize these phenomena, and to maintain the viability of your samples, blast freezing before storage is highly recommended.

JR: How does the Thermo Scientific Blast freezer help to improve user workflows?

AD: When it comes to working in a cutting- edge research facility, it is vital that all methodologies, techniques, and equipment is optimized so as to minimize interaction, allowing more time to be spent achieving your research goals. All Thermo Fisher products are developed with this in mind, and the Thermo Scientific XBF40D BLAST freezer is no exception. Every microscopic detail has been built to streamline your day, from innovations in the physical design (including the ergonomic door handle that allows for one-hand operation, and easy-to -remove washable filter), to quality in performance. The XBF40D speeds-up workflow by getting manufactured/isolated substances to a frozen core much faster than an ultra-low freezer or cold room, thus allowing better throughput when freezing to ~-30⁰C is a requirement. In addition, the cabinet and controller functions allow flexibility providing additional benefits.

During testing, 5L bottles filled with 3.5L of tap water reached a core frozen state 86% faster than in conventional -80°C ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezers. In addition to this, the XBF40D is designed to contain three individual compartments that allow users to rapidly freeze product at different points in time without jeopardizing the freeze profile of samples already in the freezer.

JR:What have you done to ensure the flexibility and usability of the Blast Freezers?

AD: The XBF40D has been designed with flexibility in mind. A laboratory is one of the most dynamic environments in which to work, and equipment such as blast freezers need to be able to accommodate a range of materials and situations in order to be effective. The XBF40D accommodates staggered loads and a variety of vessels, such as carboys, bottles, racks with vials and more. In addition, the XBF40D incorporates a versatile interior, and features adjustable shelving units to allow the placement of various container types. The performance of each unit can also be tracked with the help of a wireless triple timer that allows you to monitor the progress of your samples while attending to other duties. The freezer is fitted with an audio and visual alarm system to offer piece of mind to all laboratory personnel.

JR:What challenges does the XBF40D -40°C Blast Freezers series help to overcome in the Bioprocessing market?

AD: The bioprocessing industry is booming. The production of biomaterial such as genetically engineered organisms is helping to shape the medical, fuel, and food industries - to name a few. Working on the commercialization of living organisms poses its own problems, as the viability of the product often affects its performance and, ultimately, value. The XB40D -40°C blast freezer is extremely efficient, outperforming conventional ULT freezers in terms of cooling time which is a critical period when producing quality product.

As mentioned, the XB40D helps to maintain sample quality so that when it goes into cold storage, it can be used commercially of for research purposes following thawing. Fitting a commercial laboratory with the XB40D can help in cost reduction as strain placed on conventional devices is reduced. Being able to designate rapid freezing of products to the XB40D allows other ultra-low temperature freezers in the laboratory to be used only for long term storage, helping to reduce the burden placed upon them.

Andrew Dunn was speaking to Jack Rudd, Editor for Technology Networks.
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