FEW OPERATIONS are as fundamental to modern laboratory practice as pipetting, which plays a vital role in a great many experiments. The importance of accuracy and repeatability which applies to all lab operations is especially relevant here, as any errors shown in poor liquid handling could be indicators of systemic problems across the lab, and can easily invalidate any results obtained.
The most common factors affecting pipetting performance are the skill and experience of the operator, and the correct calibration and maintanence of the pipette.
Anachem has grouped together many of the issues of pipetting in a specially developed five step programme it calls Good Pipetting Practice (GPP). It describes the ‘complete pipetting system’ which includes the pipette, the pipette tip, and the pipette user, and says that the effect of all three elements on experimental outcome must be considered as a whole.
The five programme components are: evaluation, selection, training, calibration, and routine operation.
The GPP programme includes risk analysis, educational materials, and seminars, and is designed to help improve the consistency of pipetting results. You need to consider how well your pipettes are maintained and what impact this could have, as well as your pipetting technique and if you are at risk of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).
The company has also created a free online tool called GPP Risk Check. This confidential survey takes just five minutes to complete, and presents users with a link is for a detailed analysis of specific pipetting risks and practical tips on how to minimise them.
A specially-written white paper – The Effect of Pipetting on Experiment Outcome – examines scientific papers that have shown how pipetting errors affect experimental results and the importance of routine checks and proper maintenance. Copies are available by email from Anachem.