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Selecting Sample Storage Temperature

Whether you’re extracting nucleic acids, studying protein composition or needing viable, functional cells, your optimal storage temperature will vary based on the sample type and the end-use application. There are around 15,000 proteins in the plasma proteome, hundreds of which are degradative in nature. Samples should be stored below temperatures at which they fully solidify and enzymes are inactivated.¹

Cryogenic vial with frozen biological sample

Too often sample storage conditions are based on what is convenient and already available without considering the impact. Detrimental effects on sample health, viability and cell selection from inadequate storage and handling may not be observed until much further downstream when the assay or therapy fails. Sample storage temperature should be selected based on:

Abeyance cryogenic freezer with liquid nitrogen vapor

  • Sample Type

  • End-use Application

  • Storage Duration

What critical biological properties need to be preserved for successful use in the lab or clinic? Storage duration matters as longer term often requires colder temperatures. Be sure your storage temperature includes a safety margin well below the critical sample temperature to avoid excursions during routine retrieval and handling. 

Having a research-based storage plan will help decrease sample variables and increase consistency and efficacy. Set yourself up for success and preserve your sample potential!

Fisher BioServices illustrative guide to sample storage temperatures
  1. Hubel A, Spindler R, Skubitz A. Storage of Human Biospecimens: Selection of the Optimal Storage Temperature. Biopreservation and Biobanking 2014;12:3,1-11.

  2. Fisher BioServices: Biobank Storage Temperatures - An Illustrative Guide.

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