Good pipetting technique depends on a high-quality pipette or pipettor and a lot of practice. Using proper pipette technique can be compared to a lot of other processes that involve a high level of accuracy and will improve pipetting technique in your lab.
Poor pipetting technique in a clinical lab could result in a false positive for a pregnancy test.
First, we’ll get to know some frequently used pipetting techniques and what applications they’re suitable for.
Commonly used pipette techniques include:
- Forward pipetting (suitable for aqueous solutions with low concentrations)
Reverse pipetting (suitable for viscous or a foaming liquid sample, viscous liquid, or for small volume liquids)
Sequential dispensing (suitable for serial dispensing processes in which liquid is only aspirated once)
While mechanical pipettes are suitable for forward and reverse pipetting, an electronic pipette is suitable for all techniques.
Regardless of which pipetting technique you choose to use, your uptake techniques can make or break the accuracy within your pipetting procedures.
Two factors influence the accuracy of liquid handling and uptake during aspiration:
- The sample aspiration angle (it should be vertical)
The immersion depth of the pipette tip within the liquid sample (should be as small as possible to avoid aspirating too much liquid)
Once you’ve mastered these two basics, you should already see an increase in the accuracy of your pipetting results. After those basics, there are a few more tips to try to improve your pipetting technique:
- Prewet the pipette tip to avoid dried-out tips.
Go slow and steady as pipetting requires precision and patience.
Immerse the tip deep enough - but not too deep - to avoid aspirating air or complete aspiration restriction.
Use the plunger rhythmically by bringing your best hand-eye coordination.
And of course, as any good scientist knows, always follow the instructions for use and maintenance as outlined by the manufacturer of your pipette, and be patient with yourself.
Feeling confident about improving your pipetting technique? Gear up for the challenge with the proper pipetting equipment.
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