November 1, 2021

Instrument used for the collection of substances . This instrument is used mostly in analytical chemistry procedures; These are chemical tests in which it is sought to determine concentrations and / or various properties of the elements that make up a sample.

The micropipette is the flagship instrument of biological and medical research. It was invented in 1957 by Heinrich Schnitger , a German doctor who worked at the University of Marburg. Before its invention there was a great problem when collecting small samples.

This collection, called “pipetting” was carried out through suction through the mouth through glass capillaries. This presented several risks such as involuntary suction, cleanliness of the material and the difficulty of obtaining precision when taking the sample; being an activity that only experienced professionals did.

The current micropipette underwent small changes from the original prototype, both in materials to be able to mass-produce it and in design to make it more efficient, but it follows the same principle. The most developed are the digital and multi-channel versions, thus adapting to modern needs.

What is the Micropipette?

The micropipette is a substance collection instrument, being a type of pipette and standing out for being specially designed for the collection of small samples . It is usually made of glass although other parts that compose it are made of plastic and it has a graduation to control the volume of substances.

The micropipette consists of a syringe with a spring-loaded piston and a coaxial piston to guarantee airtightness, with a removable plastic tip . At first this tip was designed in Teflon but later it was redesigned in polypropylene, making it more economical to produce. Allowing them to be easily disposable.

The adjustable stop that it has allows you to set the volume of sample to be obtained and an air damper prevents the transfer of the substance into the syringe, retaining it in the plastic tip. Currently there are several models and the tips vary in color depending on the volume they can store.

What is the Micropipette for?

The micropipette is an instrument used to collect samples in very small volumes, measured in μL, which corresponds to one millionth of a liter. This instrument allows the manipulation of these samples for experimentation and tests in the various areas that use them.

The volume they can collect varies by model but the most common support a maximum of 20, 200 and 1000 μL. Likewise, the tips vary the volume capacity they can store, distinguishing themselves by their color; where, for example, the yellow ones take an approximate of 10 μL, while the blue ones of 800 μL.

The plastic peaks of the micropipettes are disposable allowing the instrument to be hygienic and easy to use, and they usually come already sterilized. Thus solving the hygiene problem that was formerly had when pipetting with glass capillaries was carried out.

Uses of the Micropipette

The micropipette is one of the most widely used instruments in medical and biology laboratories. In analytical chemistry it is widely used ; The need for these areas to work with minimal samples is remarkable, operations in the field of genetic research are an example of this.

If you have ever been in a biology laboratory, it is likely that you have come across one, or in one of bioanalysis where they are also frequently used to analyze small portions of the sample and thus distribute it if it is to be carried out with a multiple sample exams.

  • How is the Micropipette used?

The micropipette is not a complicated instrument to use, on the contrary; It is quite intuitive and is used by experienced professionals as well as students in the area. However, there are a few things to keep in mind, especially depending on the type of liquid you are treating.

  • Normal liquids : Verify that it is clean. Push the button at the top end to the first stop. Dip the pipette vertically into the liquid to take the sample and to discard it, press until the second stop. To remove the tip just press the ejector.
  • Viscous liquids : After verifying that the instrument is clean, press the upper button up to the second stop. As you insert the tip into the substance, slowly release the button, ensuring that the tip has collected the sample. To discard the solution, press the button up to the first stop.

Instrument maintenance is essential to ensure its proper functioning; To do this, always clean the dust that may have fallen on it. Cleaning the micropipette is done with 70% ethanol. Remember that the piston and cylinder are checked annually to ensure their optimal performance.

Another important point for the maintenance of the instrument is that you use the correct tips for the pipettes and in turn these for the volume you want to collect. Otherwise you could force its capacity or obtain unwanted results regarding the measurement.

Types of Micropipettes

Micropipettes are divided in two different ways; by the type of operation and by the number of tips; so there are four types of micropipettes, although there are always different models that vary in small things but are generally standard designs; regardless of the difference in maximum volume capacity.

By operation they differ in analog and digital . The analogs have a volume control system that is controlled by means of the upper button. While the others do this digitally. At the top are the multichannels and the simple ones ; the former have several tips to collect several samples at the same time while the simple one has only one.

Micropipettes Features

Micropipettes are part of the pipette family, but their design varies greatly from the former. This is due to the mechanism used to absorb substances with precise measurements of the volume to be obtained. Therefore, I leave you below the characteristics of the micropipette:

  • Upper button : press the internal spring, triggering the operation of the instrument.
  • Screw : Keeps the spring and button attached, itself is part of the top button.
  • Wheel: with it the volume to be collected is graduated; this only in analogs.
  • Pipette body : where all the parts go together.
  • Ejector button: button to eject the pipette tip after use.
  • Tip : removable bottom end, this is where the substance is stored and is a disposable part.

In addition to this, it is also important to distinguish between them by volume in order to take the samples properly. Although this is quite simple in the case of the tips that are categorized by colors. Remember also that digital there are parts that do not have the aforementioned, such as the wheel to adjust the volume.

Importance of the Micropipette

Substance transfer and volume measurement are essential within chemistry and biology; Many laboratory instruments are intended for these purposes and with the variety in the type of substances and procedures, different types are needed. Micropipettes are the most widely used among these instruments.

Mainly due to analytical chemistry studies, as these require extremely small samples to analyze. Without the existence of the micropipette, it would not only be difficult to take the adequate volumes of substances in these cases, but also dangerous; this, due to the risk of absorption of the substance of the previous method.

Laboratory instruments, due to their usefulness, are often not limited to a specific area but are used regularly by various disciplines, such as the micropipette, an instrument that made life easier for researchers in laboratories.

Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

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