Apr 15, 2019
The advancement of science and technology in the field of medicine and research has resulted in high demand for biological sample storage. Laboratory products and samples are at risk of degradation due to their components’ heat-sensitivity and their vulnerability to a rapid growth of microorganisms. To prevent these unwanted instances from happening, refrigeration plays an important role in preserving samples’ integrity and viability. Refrigerated vaccines, for example, must be stored at between 2⁰ and 8⁰C to maintain its potency, otherwise, it may result in product loss. Household refrigerators and laboratory refrigerators are frequently entrusted to house these valuable samples, but which of the two is the right equipment?
Household Refrigerator vs. Laboratory Refrigerator
A household refrigerator is designed to store food products for consumption such as meat, dairy, and vegetables. The temperature may be adjusted through a thermostat dial and is not strictly regulated to a specific setpoint since food items generally do not require careful temperature regulation. It is a lowcost equipment, which is why it is usually purchased for sample storage. On the contrary, a laboratory refrigerator costs more. It is equipped with a microprocessor controller that ensures accurate temperature setting and provides alarms to signal critical conditions for storage of temperaturesensitive products such as biological samples, reagents, vaccines, culture media and pharmaceuticals.
Purchasing the right equipment can be expensive that is why most end-users would likely use a household refrigerator in place of a lab refrigerator to cut expenses. The cost of products stored in a cold storage would sum up to thousands, if not millions of dollars. Considering this amount of expense, is it really worth the cut?
A poor refrigeration system, uneven temperature distribution, frequent temperature fluctuations and lack of temperature monitoring system can lead to sample spoilage and product wastage. That being the case, entrusting expensive samples to a household refrigerator will actually cost more than the price of the right laboratory equipment.
F. John Mills. Biopreservation and Biobanking (2009, June) printhttp://doi.org/10.1089/bio.2009.0702.fjm
Vaccine Refrigeration Specifications. (2017, February 7) retrieved from https://www.elitecme.com/resource-center/laboratory/vaccinerefrigeration-specifications/
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