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Planning To Create A Biorepository? You Need To Look At Some Details

by Terry Wilson

If you are putting a lab together and are planning the biorepository aspect to keep samples in good shape, you know you've got a lot of work ahead and that much of it will be filled with tiny details. However, there are three details you should not overlook at all. Some of these might already be required by the administration of the facility you're going to be at, but if you're on your own, you'll have to take all three into account immediately.

Quake Restraints

You can't risk your samples being spilled out of the freezer, refrigerator, or other container that is in the biorepository. If you live in an area that gets shaking from quakes, either because it's an active seismic area or because you live on land that receives a lot of shaking from far-away quakes, all repository containers have to be bolted down, and the doors need to have restraints that would prevent them from opening as items inside the container hit the doors. And inside the container (e.g., freezer, etc.), each container has to have some sort of shelf restraint to prevent it from moving around inside the repository.

Lab-Specific Generators

If your repository will rely on freezers or refrigerators, you need a generator for emergency power. One power outage could be enough to raise the temperature in the freezer, for example, to a range that would destroy the samples. Don't waste all your efforts by not being prepared for a random blown circuit or downed power line. You should have a safe generator ready to go, and your lab personnel should be trained to use it. If you're concerned about power outages overnight, get a generator that you can wire into the system (with help from a facilities or maintenance crew who is skilled in electronics) so that power transfers automatically to the generator when regular power cuts out.

Clear Labeling

Biorepositories often have several freezers, cabinets, and more for different specimens. Some samples need to be kept at much colder temperatures than others, so you'd need to have a separate freezer for them. All of these need to be clearly labeled. If one freezer is supposed to be below -50 degrees F, you need to avoid putting items in there that would die in those temperatures, and a clear label on the freezer would prevent mistakes.

Biorepository equipment dealers may be able to help you plan your layout and equipment needs. Talk to them and see what sizes and configurations would be available to you.