Biobanking processes are essential for the long term storage of a wide range of bio-specimens ranging from tissues and biopsies, cell lines, RNA, DNA, proteins, blood samples (serum/plasma), enzymes and biological stock solutions.

Biobanks constitute an important foundation for academic and epidemiological research, the development of diagnostics, therapies and the study of pharmacogenetics. Biobanking facilities can range from large global-scale repositories for collaborative research to smaller bespoke stores employed by service industries, academic departments and pharmaceutical companies.

In a traditional research environment, during the growth and maturation of a research group, the need to store an increasing number of biospecimens eventually places strain on existing manual -80ºC freezers and storage room facilities, both in terms of space and the effort required for sample logging storage and retrieval. Manual retrieval of samples within traditional freezers or dewars often results in unwanted freeze/thawing of some samples which is detrimental to their stability and integrity.

As the amount of biological material requiring storage increases, it is vital to be able to accurately log and store samples in a robust, inert environment ensuring sample integrity. The ability to select and retrieve only the samples required, limiting any potential freeze-thawing of unselected samples is now a standard requirement in the biomedical research industry today. Furthermore, small, high density, automated biobanking stores have become important to manage sample storage effectively in a limited space.

Small footprint, automated storage modules such as TTP Labtech’s comPOUND or arktic are capable of storing up to 10 times the number of samples of a manual laboratory sized -80ºC freezer. Introducing automation to these manual processes significantly alleviates the tedium and potential errors associated with storage and retrieval of such large sample numbers, and increases throughputs.

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