Why is the Purity of Plastic Important to the Protection of your Sample?

A selection of sample management products from Greiner Bio-One.

A selection of sample management products from Greiner Bio-One.

There is also potential risk of similar phenomena occurring with biological samples stored in polymer tubes over long periods of time. Therefore, amplifying the importance of diligence when selecting tubes for use within biobanks.

Not all Tubes are Created Equal

Virtually all polymer-based cryo small volume tubes are made of polypropylene. Although these are excellently suited to the task due to their ability to withstand ultra-low temperatures, not all tubes are born equal. A large variety of different polypropylene qualities are available, and these raw materials widely differ in chemical composition and physical properties, as well as purity and certification. Selecting a tube made from poorer quality polypropylene may result in the leaching issues discussed above but choosing the right cryo small volume tube will give greater confidence in the future of the sample stored within. 

Selection Considerations

When choosing a cryovial it is important to look for a product that has been made with quality in mind right from design and production all the way through to post-purchase support. Important factors will include:

  • The tube material used (e.g. USP class VI certified polypropylene) which can be certified as being free from chemical elements and agents such as heavy metals, TSE and BSE, phthalate esters, mould release agents and antistatic agents.
  • Tubes that are free from endotoxins, DNA, RNase and RNase.
  • Ensuring that the selected product is CE marked and carries IVD certification if required.
  • The traceability of the product from the supplier all the way back to the raw material that was used.
  • If necessary, conformity to standards such as IATA so that you can be sure about the tube’s suitability to be transported.

Ultimately, ensuring that the right tube is selected will help increase confidence in the safeguarding your samples and help meet the highest requirements of biobank standards and accreditations such as ISO 20387.


Want to read more on this subject? You can Download Forum 21 here.

Want to know more? Simply complete the form below



i J Biomol Screen. 2014 Dec;19(10):1409-14.
ii Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2012 Jun;90(6):697-703.
iii Clin Chem. 2009 Oct;55(10):1883-4.


[1]All ‘free of’ statements are based on supplier information and formulated to the best of Greiner Bio-One’s knowledge and understanding. Some statements depend on detection methods with individual