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Being Eco Friendly By Using Plastic Pipette Tips

Sep 17, 2008
Pipettes are commonly used by people in long white coats, thick goggles to protect the eyes and within clean controlled vicinity known as a laboratory. They are usually used for experiments in molecular biology or chemistry. The most common problem with using a pipette is the risk of collecting inaccurate measurements of substances or solutions; this is more evident in glass pipettes.

There are different types of pipettes, one of which is the micropipette that releases a small amount of solution; the other is the macropipette which dispenses a larger volume of solution. These were originally made from glass, which were commonly used in chemistry for measuring aqueous solutions. They work by creating a vacuum above the chamber holding the liquid and then releasing the vacuum by the user, dispensing the liquid and drawing the vacuum up.

The pipette tips are so designed to make the dispensing of the liquids easier and accurate to measure. They are ideal for creating that vacuum to draw up liquid and releasing the solution, by controlling how much is dropped out. Each drop of the solution is measured in ml. A typical volumetric pipette dispenses large volumes of liquid, in increments of 10, 25 and 50 ml measurements. A Mohrs pipette are designed with a straight was and a graduated for varying volumes in increments of 0.5 ml for a volume of 5 ml.

Some tips are designed 'to deliver' (TD) or 'to contain' (TC). TD pipettes are not usually rinsed once they have been used as they are used to deliver the content from one area to the other. TC pipettes are rinsed and cleaned, as this makes for a more accurate measurement when containing the liquid. Where the solution is high in viscosity level then the tip is carefully wiped around the edges, so as not to disturb the measurements recorded.

Some of the pipette tips are now much more eco friendly and allow for more accurate measuring for a more concrete result. New pipette tips are made from biodegradable plastic material, which means they can break naturally by the process of enzymes breaking them down. They are able to bio-degrade within an 8-15 year span depending on sunlight and temperature. Other tips that were previously made from glass were not biodegradable and so they were much more harmful to the earth, and environment.

The biodegradable tips do not contain extra additives or chemically treated materials; therefore they are natural and break down more easily. These work in the exact same way as glass tips, only they are much more environmentally friendly and can be disposed of in an earth-friendly manor. Pipette racks are also an important component to the biodegradable material, as the racks are now eco-friendly making them safer to dispose of with the tips.
About the Author
Anna Stenning is an expert on pipette tips, having studied how they are used and the impact they have on the environment.
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