PCR is a sensitive yet efficient method to multiply a single sample of a target DNA sequence into millions of samples in a very short time. This is why PCR plastics used for such experiments need to be 100% free of any contaminants and inhibitors and must be of the highest quality to ensure an optimal PCR performance. So, if you are a user of PCR plates or any other PCR plastics, you should be aware of all the right features. This will allow you to choose ones that will help you obtain reliable and accurate experimental data.
Here you will find every key detail about PCRs explained in detail.
PCR plastics are most commonly made of polypropylene. This is because they are inert and are capable of handling rapid temperature changes during thermal cycling. The inert feature in these PCR plastics minimizes the absorption of components, which ensures optimal PCR results.
PCR plates and tubes are now available in different colors to facilitate visual identification and organization of copies of samples. However, the color doesn’t really have an impact on the amplification of the DNA. So, while setting up reactions for real-time PCR, frosted, clear, or white plastics are highly recommended enabling accurate and sensitive fluorescence detection.
PCR Plastics Essentials
PCR plastics come in different forms and sizes. You can achieve the best PCR results while using these plastics once you are caught up on their features and terminology.
- Reaction Size Or Fill Volume
The fill volume of a PCR plastic is used to determine the volume of a successfully performed PCR reaction. Overfilling any particular vessel can end up in spills, cross-contamination, and inefficient heat transfer. With that being said, underfilling also causes issues, such as evaporation, which can lead to sample loss. You can easily find out the size of the PCR plastics to be used for an efficient heat transfer using the thermal block.
The profile of a PCR refers to the height of a single vessel in a plate. A ‘low profile’ in a PCR plate would mean that the height is reduced. The low-profile PCR plastics help minimize the air space above from where the reaction is happening, hence reducing evaporation and enhancing thermal conductivity. This is why the low-profile option is highly recommended for many experiments. (ThermoFisher Scientific)
- Wall Thickness
PCR plastics with thin, uniform walls have the ability to maximize consistent heat transfer to and from the samples. This makes the reactions optimal and completely error-free. Ultra-thin walls on PCR plastics are our ultimate recommendation, as they are 50% thinner than standard ones, further reducing the thermal barrier. This leads to faster and more robust reactions.
The caps and seals on the PCR plastics should offer high optical clarity to minimize distortion and maximize the passage of fluorescence signals. White Vessels are highly recommended for even more improved PCR data.
- Tube Formats
Tubes are an ideal choice for PCR experiments that require low to medium throughput. Two of the most common formats available are individual tubes and tube strips.
Individual Tubes allow you to set up the exact number of reactions you need to run for your experiments. The size mostly available in individual tubes is 0.5ml, whenever a scale-up reaction is required.
Tube strips are mostly available as strips of 8 or 12 with attached or separate caps. They are designed to work with both multi-channel and single-channel pipettes and are also suitable for throughput experiments that are low and medium. The ones that come along with the attached caps offer the option of opening and closing the tubes separately in order to prevent sample contamination.
- Plate Formats
PCR plates commonly come in formats of 24 wells, 48 wells, 96 wells, or 384 wells. The ones that you require depend on the type of experiment you are carrying out. Your decision should be based on the type of skirt or deck you want. In skirt, you have the option of choosing from non-skirted, semi-skirted, or fully skirted. While deck only gives you two options, flat or raised.
So, now that you know all the essential details about PCR plastics, you are ready to choose one for your experiment. You can browse through Molecular Biology Products’ collection of PCR plastics to buy the best ones out there. Other than that, we also offer different molecular biology products, including aluminum sealing films. So get ready to carry out your next experiment with perfection.
ThermoFisher Scientific. “PCR/qPCR Plastics Considerations–4 Main Attributes.” ThermoFisher Scientific, 2017, https://www.thermofisher.com/pk/en/home/life-science/cloning/cloning-learning-center/invitrogen-school-of-molecular-biology/pcr-education/pcr-qpcr-plastics/pcr-qpcr-plastics-considerations.html#on_this_page. Accessed 7 12 2021.