To handle your sample more precisely and achieve more accurate results, pipette tips are the best thing you can use. Not using or using the wrong type of pipette tips can eliminate the precision and accuracy of even the best-calibrated pipettes. Although it depends on the nature and conditions of your experiment, you will have to face certain consequences if you’re not careful with the selection of the right pipette tips. Most common problems include contamination of the pipette, reagent waste, or in the worse case, physical harm in the form of Repetitive stress injury (RSI). Therefore, you should always be careful and choose a suitable tip type for your pipette and experiment situation, especially when working with expensive reagents. Regardless of your pipette and experiment type, low retention is a crucial feature to be considered. This is where Low-retention tips come to help by working exactly as their name suggests, i.e retain low levels of liquid during dispensing. All in all, if you’re not using low retention tips in your lab, you may be wasting precious samples. This guide will tell you everything that you need to know about low-retention tips. (Biotix)
What Low Retention Pipette Tips Are?
Also known as low binding tips, Low retention tips are modified pipette tips that are specially designed to prevent the adhesion of enzymes, DNA, cells, proteins, as well as other viscous materials to their surface. If you observe a standard pipet tip, you might notice that minute quantities of liquid remain left after dispensing. Due to having a hydrophobic plastic additive, Low-retention tips reduce this from happening by keeping the liquid from sticking to the inside of the tips. They are manufactured using a material called polypropylene and their surface has been altered either chemically or physically for the reduction of adherence and binding of samples to the plastic surface.
How Are Low Retention Tips Manufactured?
Liquid retention in pipette tips can be reduced using one of the following methods:
- By Highly polishing surfaces of tip molds (e.g., diamond polishing) The quality of the low retention surface may vary depending on the age of the mold.
- Using plastic additives or dipping into surface-modifying chemicals. The dipping process can sometimes result in the uneven coating of the tip’s surface, reducing the reliability
- By hydrophobic coverage using innovative proprietary technology. This is one of the most advanced methods and tips produced in this way have higher chemical resistance and are of consistent quality.
When To Use Low Retention Tips?
Using 200ul low retention filter tips is ideal when dealing with Viscous or “sticky” samples that are often difficult to be fully dispensed. These types of samples can bind to the tip surface, affecting pipetting efficiency. Enzymes, plasma, detergents, and foaming liquids are a few common examples of such liquids. Using Low retention tips can be especially advantageous when the experiment involves pipetting of detergent-containing solutions (e.g., PRC master mixes, buffers, or enzyme solutions). Since these solutions have a comparatively low surface tension than water, they’re typically not repelled from the tip surface entirely, meaning that a layer of liquid remains stuck to the surface after dispensing. This film reduces pipetting accuracy and precision.
When Not To Use Low Retention Tips?
While dealing with minute volumes such as volumes smaller than 10 microliters (<10 μl) of aqueous liquids, the use of low retention tips may not be well suited. This is because the surface of the tip’s inner wall is so hydrophobic that the aspirated quantities may remain lower than required, or you may not be able to aspirate the liquid at all. Another thing to keep in mind is that low retention tips are a bit expensive than standard tips. Considering this, you should only use them when your experiment demands to. Otherwise, you will only end up spending extra.
Can You Autoclave Low Retention Tips?
This feature varies from manufacturer to manufacture. If your experiment involves autoclaving, it’s recommended that you first check with the manufacturer and make sure whether or not their tips are suited to be autoclaved. Most Low retention tips can be autoclaved just like the standard tips (121°C, 20 min, 1 bar) without having their performance affected. (Linkedin)
To Wrap Up:
Considering all that is mentioned above, you can increase your pipetting efficiency when handling viscous reagents. To purchase the best quality low-retention filter tips, Kingfisher Plastics products, and other products related to molecular biology, visit Molecular Biology Products.
Biotix. “How to Choose the Right Pipette Tips for your Experiment.” Biotix, 27 September 2016, https://biotix.com/how-to-choose-the-right-pipette-tips-for-your-experiment/. Accessed 4 January 2022.
Linkedin. “All About Low Retention Tips!” LinkedIn, 27 October 2015, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/all-low-retention-tips-ryan-titmas. Accessed 4 January 2022.