Re-Purposing Your Old Polymer

Polymer.pngWe all know that the reagents for your sequencers and qPCR machines aren’t cheap, so of course everyone is looking for any and every way to save on these supplies. With a bottle of polymer costing a few hundred dollars, you learn quickly that it is not to be wasted. Luckily, some very bright people work with these machines every day and they’ve come up with some ingenious ways to get the most out of your polymer.

We like to think we know everything, but from time to time our customers teach us some tips and tricks they’ve learned. One of these individuals, Steve Long, COO for Alliance DNA Laboratory, a premium ancestry and paternity test provider, has developed a clever way to reuse polymer while running his 3130xl Genetic Analyzer. If you would like to capitalize on some of Steve’s tricks (and we’re pretty sure you do), try this!

When running his 3130xl, Steve changes his polymer weekly, however if there is any polymer left in the bottle, he saves this and places it in the refridgerator with a label clearly marking the polymer as "old". Steve realized that when he performed water washes and bubble removal procedures, he was also wasting a lot of expensive polymer. So Steve figured out how to re-use his old polymer for these procedures. Here's how he does it:

  1. After a water wash when prompted by the software to install a new bottle of polymer to prime the pump, place the old bottle of polymer on the machine and flush with old polymer.
  2. After the pump is primed and you are again prompted to run the bubble removal wizard, leave the old polymer in place to remove any bubbles within the system. Once you are sure the system is bubble free and filled with polymer and you are asked to fill the array, exit the wizard.
  3. Removes the old bottle of polymer, wipe off the polymer tube and places the new bottle of polymer on the machine being careful not to introduce any bubbles. Don’t agitate the bottle or tube.
  4. Run the replenish polymer wizard, which you will find uses far less polymer.

Thank you, Steve, for passing along this great cost saving tip! Using this economical idea, you can successfully water wash, remove bubbles, and save costly polymer in your lab.

Have a clever cost-saving idea you’d like to share?  We will send you a $50 Amazon gift card and give your lab all the kudos!

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Written by Susan Henry

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