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Is autoclaving an essential pre-work for PCR consumables, tips and related plasticware?

Autoclaving for PCR plasticware

Is autoclaving an essential pre-work for PCR consumables, tips and related plasticware?

Not exactly. It depends on the applications user will do, and what the key risk should be excluded during the experiments.

What is the critical risk during PCR?

For PCR, the critical risks are DNase and RNase, the 2 enzymes will digest nucleic acids, no matter the template DNA/RNA or the amplicons. Thus, if DNase and RNase exist in/on the plasticware, the failure or false negative is  possible. The other key risk during PCR is DNA (RNA is not very stable and easy to degrade). Likewise, if there is any DNA existing in/on the plasticware, the false positive is an predictable result.

So, DNase-free, RNase-free and DNA-free are three important specifications of PCR consumable, but DNase, RNase and DNA all can not be removed by autoclaving.

Does bacteria interfere the PCR result?

Usually, bacteria will not strongly affect PCR (of course, if there are a lot of bacteria or bacteria DNA is the template of user's experiment, it's an another story), so autoclaving is not an essential pre-work for PCR.

However, if the product from PCR will act as a material in a further experiments (under the sterile condition), such as transfection during cell culture or injecting into an animal. The sterile plasticware will get more important in these experiments than general PCR.

Is autoclaving a possible way to sterilize the PCR consumables which acts a vehicle to produce materials for cell culture experiment?

It's not recommended. The environment in the autoclave and oven is also a necessary consideration. If the plasticware was produced under clean room and certificated DNase-free, RNase-free and DNA-free, the autoclaving is possibly an impact factor to break the original clean.

Moreover, the single PCR tubes are probably capable for being autoclaving, but it's not a good way for strip tubes, caps and multi-well plates. Even though the tolerance of raw material, such as Polypropylene, is capable for 121 degree Celsius during autoclaving, but the design of strip tubes and plates is more complicated to single PCR tubes. If any bending occurs on strip tubes and multi-well plates during autoclaving or drying, it may cause the shape is not perfectly match to the thermal cycler, and affect the thermal transduction and interfere the PCR result.

What is the suitable option of sterile PCR plasticware?

In comparison with autoclaving, we highly suggest users consider PCR consumables or plasticware which are pre-sterilized by gamma-irradiation or electron beam. 

Does SMB offer the sterile PCR consumables?

SMB offers sterile PCR sealing films and foils. The sterile PCR tubes, strip tubes and caps, 96 and 384 well PCR plates are not regular products. However, we have a complete system to support your application and provide a total solution. If you need a pre-sterilized PCR platicware, please press bloew figure and contact us, SMB team will do our best to see how we can help you the most. 

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