Used Microcentrifuge in Centrifuges

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Spinning your way through Centrifugation

Centrifugation is one of the most widely applied research technique in biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, and clinical settings. A centrifuge spins and separates liquid samples at high speeds and is considered an essential instrument in almost all laboratories. Centrifugal forces (g-force) pushes heavier particles to the sides of the vessel or bottom (for swinging bucket rotors), separating the particles from the liquid.

A few tips are offered when using some of the various types of centrifuge equipment for sale at BioSurplus, from preparative centrifuges to analytical centrifuges, including ultra, micro, mini, industrial, and benchtop.

There are many types of centrifuges for different applications in a lab. These include:

  1. Mini-centrifuge / Microfuge
  2. Small Benchtop
  3. High-Speed
  4. Ultracentrifuge
  5. Separators (industrial scale centrifuge)

How do I know which type of centrifuge to use?

Type Description Max RCF(x g) Some Applications
Microfuge / Mini-centrifuge Typically for 1-1.5 mL tubes. 32,000 Quick separation of small samples, plasmid preps, restriction enzyme reactions, small desalting preps
Small Benchtop Low to medium speed centrifugation for various tube sizes as well as plates. 25,000 Cell separation for viable cell culture. Larger scale plasmid preps, enzyme assay reactions, precipitation procedures
High-Speed High speed centrifugation 100,000 Bacterial pelleting, supernatant harvesting for cell culture
Ultracentrifuge1) Preparative2) Analytical Very high speed centrifugation. 300,000 Pelleting particles, membranes, viruses, nucleic acids, lipoproteins. Can also be used to determine molecular shape, mass and sedimentation velocity.
Separators1) Decanter2) Disc stack Industrial centrifuges used in the biopharmaceutical industry. 15,000 Used in biopharmaceutical fermentation and bioproduction settings for industrial scale cell harvesting, broth clarification, and separation of cell debris.

 

There are many specifications to think about when choosing a centrifuge. To find the right type of centrifuge for your lab features such as speed, rotor types, and temperature should be considered:

Specifications

Centrifuge Type

Mini-centrifuges Microfuge Small Benchtop High Speed Ultracentrifuge Preparative Ultracentrifuge Analytical Separators
Max RPMMax RCF (x g) 6002000 17,50030,13 17,00025,000 26,00082,000 150,0001,019,000 60,000290,000 965012,200
Rotors Fixed angle, horizontal Fixed angle, horizontal Fixed angle, swinging bucket, Continuous flow Fixed angle, swinging bucket, Continuous flow Fixed angle, swinging bucket Fixed Angle No rotor, sample fed directly to bowl
Rotor Adapter microtubes, plates, 10-15mL tubes 0.2 mL. 1.5mL/2.0mL microtubes, plates, up to 50 mL tubes, plates plates, up to 50 mL tubes, up to 1L bottles plates, up to 50 mL tubes, up to 1L bottles microtubes, tubes, bottles tubes NA – Bowl capacity up to 70L
Temp Range Room Temp, Refrigerated Room Temp, Refrigerated Room Temp, Refrigerated Room Temp, Refrigerated Refrigerated 0-40degC Refrigerated 0-40degC Refrigerated
Noise Level Some models have quiet motor Some models have quiet motor Some models have quiet motor, low noise level <58 dBA Some models have quiet motor <50dBA Low noise >50dBA
Other Features Small footprint, quick acceleration/deceleration, on some models Automatic rotor recognition, electronic imbalance detection, one-finger lid closure, soft brake function Quick Run, Choice of different acceleration/braking curves, RCF selection, rotor recognition, electronic imbalance detection, safety lid lock Automatic rotor recognition, rotor recognition, electronic imbalance detection, safety lid lock RCF/RPM selection, rotor recognition, safety lid lock, electronic imbalance detection, UV detection for determination of molecular shape, mass and sedimentation velocity, quick acceleration/deceleration and no brake feature Biopharma industrial scale cell harvesting, broth clarification and separation of cell debris, separator can be a closed (sanitized) system, separates particles to 0.1 micron

 

Because centrifuges come in all shapes and sizes, and the rotors vary, the universal unit of centrifugation is in centrifugal force in gravities (x g) or RCF. Be sure to use this value in calculating the rpms required for each rotor.

Here are a few important guidelines for operating a centrifuge

These can help prevent damage to the centrifuge and rotor and more importantly prevent possible serious injury to you and others.

  1. Use the correct rotor and make sure it is properly installed.
  2. Make sure your work surface is level and firm. A centrifuge should never be in operation on an uneven work surface.
  3. Balance the load in a rotor. Use total mass/ weight for each tube as a measurement for balancing rather than volume to take into account different density liquids. If it is an identical liquid that you are balancing against, then volume will work just fine.
  4. Stop or unplug a centrifuge if you see excessive shaking. Check to see if your tubes are balanced and that work surface is level. If that’s not the problem, schedule a service call.
  5. Don’t move or bump the centrifuge while it is spinning. Make sure the centrifuge is in a location where this cannot accidentally happen.
  6. Don’t open the lid to a centrifuge while it is spinning.
  7. Wear safety goggles if you are working near an operational centrifuge.
  8. Use the appropriate sample tubes for your rotor. Make sure your tubes are rated to be able to handle the max rcf of your rotor. Special tubes are needed for high force centrifugation.