What is a propipette or pipettor?

November 2, 2021

When we refer to a propipette or as many call it a pipettor , we are talking about an instrument that is used in laboratories. There are several types of propipettes , and among them we find those that have a pencil or pen design and others that have the shape of a globe. Both designs belong to mechanical pipettors . But we also find electronic propipettes , with a pencil or pen design and others that pretend to be a pistol.

Mechanical prop

In the image we have as an example one of the mechanical propipette designs. This propipette is of the mechanical type, because it works just like a pump does.

As we can see, this type of mechanical pipettor consists of a red rubber bulb that expels the air when it is pressed with the fingers; With the action of slowly releasing, the liquid begins its ascent through the glassware.

As we know, there are many accessible designs of mechanical pipettes . Some are more modern and others a bit old or rudimentary. But each one is adapted to the demands of the study or the work to be carried out in the laboratory.

Pipettes and propipettes offset each other. For that reason, the smaller the pipette, the much more sophisticated the propipette must be . Hence, we find propipettes that have been designed exclusively for micro pipettes. And they are capable of accommodating very small volumes that are expressed in measures of micro liters.

Electronic owner

The type of electronic pipettes or pipettors allow measurements that will be much more accurate than mechanical pipettes . The error of electronic propipettes is practically nil.

The electronic propipetas are designed to perform multiple measurements at the same time. And they are also provided with a display or digital screen in which the amount of pipetted liquid can be seen.

What is the function of a pipettor?

The propipette or pipettor is the laboratory instrument that fulfills the function of transferring liquids from one container to another. The liquids that are transferred with the pipettor are those that are usually dangerous for human contact. Because they can be liquids that are harmful, corrosive, toxic or with very strong odors or with emission of vapors.

What is the mechanism to pass the liquid from one container to another?

The pipettor contains a 3-way rubber pump or suction bulb. This rubber is placed in the pipette, right in the part that we suck. In order to use them, the air must be extracted by pressing the letter ”  A”  and pressing until the central part is squashed. Then for the liquid to begin to rise, press the letter ”  S” , for the liquid to be eliminated, press the letter ”  E” , and if there is any drop left, press the area between the letter ”  E”  and ”  E”. Yes  together.

The propipettes with a pen or pencil design are ergonomic and are very easy to operate, their design has been designed so that they can be used with just one hand. It is as simple as turning the wheel to achieve precise handling in the aspiration and dispensing of liquids. Pressing the side lever provides rapid dispensing of the content. This type of pipettes are easily disassembled , something that facilitates their cleaning. They are resistant to acids and alkalis. The color indicates its capacity (ex: red, maximum capacity 25 ml; blue 6 ml; green 10 ml, etc)

The electric automatic pipettes have a speed regulator for dispensing and aspiration. They are equipped with an autoclavable hydrophobic filter  that prevents over-aspiration. Some also include interchangeable adapters for various types of tips (glass or plastic up to 100  mL ), a low battery indicator, and a built-in stand, making it possible to leave the propipette tipped when not in use. Several models have a display to visualize the quantity of pipetted liquid.

How to clean and disinfect the pipettor?

The first step in cleaning the pipettor system is to disassemble the equipment.

It may happen that over time, the efficiency of the pipette controller deteriorates, and the cause
may be a dirty or clogged filter. If this is the case, the filter must be replaced following the
following instructions:
• Remove the pipette.
• Unscrew the nozzle.
• Remove the membrane filter and the pipette holder.
• Rinse the holder with the safety valve using a wash bottle.
• Blow off the remaining liquid from the bracket and allow it to dry completely before
reassembling or reassembling.
• Install the new membrane filter and mount the device in the reverse order.

How to deal with a common accident with a pipettor?

The main risks derived from the use of automatic pipettors are associated with spills that happen accidentally. But we must also say that there are risks derived from splashing biological and chemical substances. These accidents are generally associated with equipment malfunction.

In the event of a spill of liquid material with biological agents, it is recommended to follow the steps below:

In the case of accidental spillage of liquid material with biological agents, it is
-Put on  two pairs of gloves and cover the spill with absorbent paper.
-Pour  a disinfectant and if necessary suspend the activity in the laboratory
for at least 30 minutes.
-Remove  paper or damaged material with a dustpan and dispose of container
residues  biosanitarios .
-Collect  the glass fragments, if any, with tweezers and with the personal protection equipment
used for this type of situation.
-Clean  and disinfect contaminated surfaces.
-Disinfect the material by immersing it in disinfectant (10% hypochlorite
or 70% alcohol) for at least 24 hours.
-Go  to the doctor indicating the nature of the biological material involved.

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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