What errors account for under-pipetting? The top mistakes to avoid in your pipetting procedures.

The stakes are always high. Break bad pipetting habits to get accurate results every time.

There are a variety of errors that account for under-pipetting. Under-pipetting means you’re under-delivering solution volumes during your pipetting procedures and that the results are inaccurate. 

An inaccurate result from pipetting in a crime lab could make all the difference between an innocent or guilty verdict for someone on trial. In a clinical lab, it could mean incorrect results for an HIV test. That's why pipetting relies on precision and repeatability. Luckily, all of these errors are avoidable by using the correct pipetting techniques. 

There are some common mistakes that lead to under-pipetting that can be easily eradicated in your lab. 

A few of these common errors are (these also apply for smaller volume pipettes such as a micropipette):

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  • Dried out pipette tips. Pipette tips should be made wet before use by aspirating and dispensing a liquid sample at least three times before beginning the pipetting procedure. 

  • Incorrect solution temperature. Some solutions, like a reagent or distilled water, are temperature sensitive, and others are easily affected by temperature. 

  • Using the wrong pipette tips. Tips that aren’t compatible with your pipette can cause the solution to leak into the pipette itself, resulting in liquid volume loss and damage to the pipette itself. Tips from Scilogex are compatible with most pipettes made by leading manufacturers. 

  • Wiping or dragging the pipette tip. Friction between the tip and other surfaces results in loss of liquid volume. 

  • Pipetting at incorrect angles. Your pipette should be vertical when aspirating. 

  • Working too quickly while pipetting is another common pipetting error. Let the liquid settle into the pipette tip for a second or two after aspirating. 

Now that you know what they are, you can work on proper pipetting techniques to eradicate laboratory error in liquid handling. When in doubt, always consult your pipette manufacturer’s instructions for use and maintenance and follow your laboratory’s safety and operating procedures. 

Thinking of turning a new leaf in your pipetting practice? Prep with pipetting equipment to support you every step of the way.
And while you're at it, be sure to check out our brand new SCILOGEX SuperPette Autoclavable Pipettors, in seven fully adjustable volume sizes. This Pipette offers all of the premium features you’d expect from a premium pipettor for 30-50% less.