Vessel selection

Vessel selection

To select the appropriate type of vessel (tube, plate, bottle, cell culture flask, etc.), you should consider the type of sample, volume, and vessel material. The available sample volume needs to be processed in an appropriately sized vessel. In addition, vessel materials differ in their ability to withstand centrifugal forces, and in their resistance to chemicals.

Check vessels for max. g-force

Ensure that all tubes, bottles, and adapters are only used within the limits specified by the manufacturer. Some centrifuges accelerate up to more than 30,000 × g, but not all micro test tubes are approved for these high g-forces.

The safety of your sample depends on the stability and quality of the tube structure as well as the plastic surfaces. Tube or bottle failures during centrifugation can result in the loss of your sample as well as in minor to severe damage to rotors and centrifuge. The recovery rate of DNA and RNA strongly depends on the plastic surface. Only special surfaces (smart consumables) such as DNA LoBind enable a nearly 100% recovery rate.

Vessel selection

Different vessel materials are available, including polypropylene, polystyrene, polycarbonate, regular glass, and Duran glass. Every centrifuge tube should be supported as good as possible during centrifugation through the rotor and adapters. Damaged or deformed tubes should not be centrifuged. PCR plates, standard plates, and Deepwell plates in SBS format, which can also be centrifuged, should be in good condition as well.

When choosing your vessel material, consider the following:

When using organic solvents (e.g. phenol, chloroform), the density of plastic vessels can be reduced through chemical interaction, i.e. the vessels can be damaged. Follow the manufacturer’s information with regard to the chemical and centrifugational resistance of specific vessels.
Glass vessels can be used several times, have a high resistance to chemicals, and should be applied with adapters and rubber mats. If there is glass breakage, careful and extensive cleaning of the equipment is mandatory to prevent damage in subsequent runs. Limitations for glass vessels are the maximum rcf they can withstand; e.g. Duran-made vessels are recommended for up to 4,000 x g.

  • Polypropylene (PP) is popular for single-use vessels. This material tends to be very resistant against chemicals and can even be autoclaved. It has a higher centrifugational resistance than polystyrene. For example, PP-made 50 mL conical tubes can be centrifuged with up to 16,000 × g, whereas polystyrene-made tubes of the same size are usually limited to a much lower g-force, depending on the supplier. Micro test tubes can withstand up to 30,000 × g or even 70,000 × g in special form-fitting rotors (both depending on the supplier).
  • Polystyrene (PS) is commonly used for cell culture flasks and less often for centrifugation tubes. PS vessels are not autoclavable and have very limited chemical resistance. Their benefit lies in their surface properties (especially for cell culture plates) and the lower price.
  • Polycarbonate (PC) tubes are very often used for centrifugation. Some Oak Ridge vessels are made of PC because it is transparent (it has an ability to transmit light similar to glass). Vessels made of PC have high impact strength, a good heat resistance, and a good dimensional and color stability. Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions with regard to their chemical resistance and reuse.
  • PTFE-(Polytetrafluoroethylene)-made tubes are ideal for high-speed centrifugation (e.g. 50,000 × g) of aggressive chemicals (including chloroform and phenol), since they are resistant to any acid, base, or solvent. These tubes are autoclavable and withstand temperatures from –100 °C to +150 °C.

Vessel type

Beyond the physical and chemical properties of a vessel, the shape of the vessel is also important. Depending on the application, several kinds of vessels are available, including micro test tubes, 5, 15 and 50 mL conical tubes, PCR tubes, plates, etc. An application overview of centrifugation vessels can be found below.

Microtest tube


Centrifuge

Benchtop centrifuges

Centrifugation speed

Max. 30.000 x g

Application examples

  • Nucleic acid extraction
  • Protein extraction
  • Pelleting of bacterial or yeast cultures

Generally used material
Polypropylene (PP)

Special features/comments
High performance for highspeed centrifugation

Eppendorf Tubes 5.0 mL


Centrifuge
Benchtop centrifuges

Centrifugation speed

Max. 25,000 x g

Application examples

  • Pelleting bacterial cultures
  • Pelleting yeast cultures
  • Protein extraction
  • High yield nucleic acid extraction

Generally used material
PP

Eppendorf Conical Tubes


Centrifuge

Benchtop centrifuges

Centrifugation speed
Max. 19,500 x g

Application examples

  • Cell culture applications
  • Method setup in molecular biology and microbiology

Generally used material
PP

PCR 0.2 mL tubes


Centrifuge

Benchtop centrifuges

Centrifugation speed
Max. 10,000 x g

Application examples

  • Processing PCR samples

Generally used material
PP

Special features/comments
Probably adapter required for 1.5/2 mL rotor

PCR strips


Centrifuge
Benchtop centrifuges

Centrifugation speed
Max. 10,000 x g

Application examples

  • Processing PCR samples

Generally used material
PP

Special features/comments
8 strips rotor

PCR 0.5 mL tubes


Centrifuge

Benchtop centrifuges

Centrifugation speed
Max. 10,000 x g

Application examples

  • Processing PCR samples

Generally used material
PP

High speed centrifugation vessels (SS34) vessel


Centrifuge
Benchtop centrifuges, floor standing centrifuges

Centrifugation speed
Max. 108,000 x g

Application examples

  • Separation of cell organelles
  • Protein extraction
  • Pelleting bacterial cultures
  • Pelleting yeast cultures

Generally used material
Polyallomer (copolymere of olefin and propylene)

Large conical vessels 250 mL


Centrifuge
Benchtop centrifuges, floor standing centrifuges

Centrifugation speed
Max. 6,000 × g

Application examples

  • Large volume centrifugation, e.g. yeast or bacterial cultures

Generally used material
PP

Special features/comments
Specific adapter required

Blood sample tubes: "Monovettes", "Vacutainers"


Centrifuge
Benchtop centrifuges (swing-out rotors)

Centrifugation speed
1,800-3,300 x g (S-Monovetten)

Application examples

  • Blood diagnostics (S-Monovettes)
  • Serum (serum extraction)
  • Lithium-heparin (plasma extraction)
  • Potassium-EDTA (hematolology)
  • Tri-Sodium Citrate 1:10 (coagulation studies)
  • Fluoride (glucose determination)
  • Citrate- fluoride (glucose determination)

Generally used material
PP

Large "flat" bottom vessels 250 -1000 mL


Centrifuge

Benchtop centrifuges, floor standing centrifuges

Centrifugation speed

Max. 14,000 x g

Application examples

  • Large volume centrifugation, e.g. yeast or bacterial cultures

Generally used material
PP

Special features/comments

Specific adapter required

Vessel for Ultrafiltration


Centrifuge
Benchtop centrifuges

Centrifugation speed
3,000 – 4,000 x g

Application examples

  • Increase concentration of macromolecules (e.g. proteins)

Generally used material
Different kind of material available

Special features/comments
Specific adapter required

HPLC vials


Centrifuge
Benchtop centrifuges, fixed-angle rotor

Centrifugation speed
Max. 3,500 x g

Application examples

  • Downspinning

Generally used material
Glass

Cryo vial


Centrifuge
Benchtop centrifuges, fixed-angle rotor

Centrifugation speed
Max. 17,000 x g

Application examples

  • Downspinning

Generally used material
PP

Cell culture flask


Centrifuge
Benchtop centrifuges, swing-out rotor

Centrifugation speed
Max. 2,250 x g (swing-out)

Application examples

  • Direct centrifugation of cell culture samples

Generally used material
Polycarbonate (PC)

Special features/comments
Specific adapter required

 

 

PCR plates


Centrifuge
Benchtop centrifuges, swing-out rotor

Centrifugation speed
Max. 4,000 x g

Application examples

  • Centrifugation of PCR- mixes

Generally used material
PP/PC

Special features/comments
Specific adapter required

Microtest plates


Centrifuge
Benchtop centrifuges, swing-out rotor

Centrifugation speed
Max. 6,000 x g

Application examples

  • Elution in nucleic acid purification kits

Generally used material
PP

Deepwell plates


Centrifuge
Benchtop centrifuges, swing-out rotor

Centrifugation speed
Max. 6,000 x g

Application examples

  • Bacterial cultures
  • Yeast cultures
  • Nucleic acids extraction

Generally used material
PP

Filter plates


Centrifuge
Benchtop centrifuges, swing-out rotor

Centrifugation speed
Ca. 1,000 x g

Application examples

  • e.g. nucleic acid extraction

Generally used material
Different kinds of material available

Cell culture plates


Centrifuge
Benchtop centrifuges, swing-out rotor

Centrifugation speed
Max. 2,500 x g

Application examples

  • Cell culture applications

Generally used material
Polystyrene (PS)