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Question about autoclave wastes and serological pipette


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#1 c7h15cooh

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 09:44 AM

I am helping my superisor to start up a cell culture lab. There are two questions

1) I saw some labs using glass serological pipette and they autoclaved the pipette everytime before use. Is that a good idea? Also, they put the pipette inside an stainless steel box during autoclave, but the salesmen told me to use autoclave bag instead. Which one would be better?

2) My superisor asked me whether it is necessary to use autoclave bag to handle the used disposable items(Like used culture dish). Can we just use a rubbish bin to collect disposable and discard all disposable into the autoclave without the autoclave bag?

Thanks a lot for the time and help. My superisor and I are new to this field.

#2 pito

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 10:33 AM

I am helping my superisor to start up a cell culture lab. There are two questions

1) I saw some labs using glass serological pipette and they autoclaved the pipette everytime before use. Is that a good idea? Also, they put the pipette inside an stainless steel box during autoclave, but the salesmen told me to use autoclave bag instead. Which one would be better?

2) My superisor asked me whether it is necessary to use autoclave bag to handle the used disposable items(Like used culture dish). Can we just use a rubbish bin to collect disposable and discard all disposable into the autoclave without the autoclave bag?

Thanks a lot for the time and help. My superisor and I are new to this field.


Question 2: you can trow everything in the autoclave without using a bag, but then the entire autoclave would be dirty and after autoclaving, it would be a filty job to empty the autoclave... If you use autoclave bags, you can simply take those outside the autoclave and trow them in a garbagebag.

Also: if you trew it in a rubbish bin, with no bag, the bin will become really dirty...




1: if you dont autoclave the pipette it wont be sterile...
About using an autoclave bag? Dunno.. we put pipette tips in aluminumfoil or in plastic (autoclavable) boxes.. Just put it in something that stays closed so your pipettes stay sterile after autoclaving.
Bags cost money, plastic box too, but you can keep using it.....



We only use autoclave bags to sterilize our dirt/waste...

If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some than not ask and stay stupid.


#3 hobglobin

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 10:52 AM

1. We sterilise glass pipettes with dry heat...in a metal box (i.e. you can use it forever compared to a autoclave bag)
2. and a normal plastic rubbish bag will melt....

Edited by hobglobin, 13 April 2011 - 11:13 AM.

One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

#4 c7h15cooh

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 05:37 PM


I am helping my superisor to start up a cell culture lab. There are two questions

1) I saw some labs using glass serological pipette and they autoclaved the pipette everytime before use. Is that a good idea? Also, they put the pipette inside an stainless steel box during autoclave, but the salesmen told me to use autoclave bag instead. Which one would be better?

2) My superisor asked me whether it is necessary to use autoclave bag to handle the used disposable items(Like used culture dish). Can we just use a rubbish bin to collect disposable and discard all disposable into the autoclave without the autoclave bag?

Thanks a lot for the time and help. My superisor and I are new to this field.


Question 2: you can trow everything in the autoclave without using a bag, but then the entire autoclave would be dirty and after autoclaving, it would be a filty job to empty the autoclave... If you use autoclave bags, you can simply take those outside the autoclave and trow them in a garbagebag.

Also: if you trew it in a rubbish bin, with no bag, the bin will become really dirty...




1: if you dont autoclave the pipette it wont be sterile...
About using an autoclave bag? Dunno.. we put pipette tips in aluminumfoil or in plastic (autoclavable) boxes.. Just put it in something that stays closed so your pipettes stay sterile after autoclaving.
Bags cost money, plastic box too, but you can keep using it.....



We only use autoclave bags to sterilize our dirt/waste...


Thanks a lot for your reply.
For question 1, I forgot to mention that their pipette are reusable.
Some friends told me that this is not a good idea to use reusable pipette, but my supervisor want to use it to save money.

For question 2, same...my supervisor want to save money to buy other reagents...

#5 c7h15cooh

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 05:42 PM

1. We sterilise glass pipettes with dry heat...in a metal box (i.e. you can use it forever compared to a autoclave bag)
2. and a normal plastic rubbish bag will melt....


Thanks for your reply.
What the salesmen told me was that putting the glass pipettes inside the metal box would slow down the steam from entering the pipettes and caused an incomplete sterilization result. He said using an autoclave bag would be better.But I saw some labs using box and got no problems.

#6 PostDocTrauma

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 12:24 AM

we buy sterile serological pipette and then decontaminate in 1% virkon overnight before autoclaving in plastic boxes that we throw away

All other waste gets collected by a specialist company

#7 pito

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 12:51 AM


1. We sterilise glass pipettes with dry heat...in a metal box (i.e. you can use it forever compared to a autoclave bag)
2. and a normal plastic rubbish bag will melt....


Thanks for your reply.
What the salesmen told me was that putting the glass pipettes inside the metal box would slow down the steam from entering the pipettes and caused an incomplete sterilization result. He said using an autoclave bag would be better.But I saw some labs using box and got no problems.


About the serological pipettes: most often we trow them away too.. but sometimes whe just reuse it.. It depends for what we use them in order to re-use them.
And yes, the reusable ones, you can reuse them.. but it depends for what you need them.
(just to play safe or not)

What do you mean using a box? They use a box to autoclave ? (to put the waste in and then autoclave?)

About saving money with the autoclave bags: yes and no, maybe you save money not buying those bags, but if you dont buy/use them, you will spend more time on cleaning the autoclave.. And time costs money too in the end...

Edited by pito, 14 April 2011 - 12:53 AM.

If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some than not ask and stay stupid.


#8 c7h15cooh

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 01:11 AM



1. We sterilise glass pipettes with dry heat...in a metal box (i.e. you can use it forever compared to a autoclave bag)
2. and a normal plastic rubbish bag will melt....


Thanks for your reply.
What the salesmen told me was that putting the glass pipettes inside the metal box would slow down the steam from entering the pipettes and caused an incomplete sterilization result. He said using an autoclave bag would be better.But I saw some labs using box and got no problems.


About the serological pipettes: most often we trow them away too.. but sometimes whe just reuse it.. It depends for what we use them in order to re-use them.
And yes, the reusable ones, you can reuse them.. but it depends for what you need them.
(just to play safe or not)

What do you mean using a box? They use a box to autoclave ? (to put the waste in and then autoclave?)

About saving money with the autoclave bags: yes and no, maybe you save money not buying those bags, but if you dont buy/use them, you will spend more time on cleaning the autoclave.. And time costs money too in the end...


Thanks, what I mean is putting the serological pipettes (not the waste) in the box.

#9 pito

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 03:06 AM




1. We sterilise glass pipettes with dry heat...in a metal box (i.e. you can use it forever compared to a autoclave bag)
2. and a normal plastic rubbish bag will melt....


Thanks for your reply.
What the salesmen told me was that putting the glass pipettes inside the metal box would slow down the steam from entering the pipettes and caused an incomplete sterilization result. He said using an autoclave bag would be better.But I saw some labs using box and got no problems.


About the serological pipettes: most often we trow them away too.. but sometimes whe just reuse it.. It depends for what we use them in order to re-use them.
And yes, the reusable ones, you can reuse them.. but it depends for what you need them.
(just to play safe or not)

What do you mean using a box? They use a box to autoclave ? (to put the waste in and then autoclave?)

About saving money with the autoclave bags: yes and no, maybe you save money not buying those bags, but if you dont buy/use them, you will spend more time on cleaning the autoclave.. And time costs money too in the end...


Thanks, what I mean is putting the serological pipettes (not the waste) in the box.


You mean you want to autoclave the pipettes in a box? Yes you can do that.

Its like a box in wich you put pipettetips.. Or use a metal box as hobglobin allready stated

If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some than not ask and stay stupid.


#10 mdfenko

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 11:09 AM

in the good old days, we used to use glass pipettes that we unplugged the cotton, washed, dried, replugged, placed in a metal box and autoclaved with dry cycle.

we were working with cyanobacteria (back then we called them blue-green algae). the generation time was considerably longer than for e. coli and we rarely contaminated our cultures (when we did it was most likely caused by something other than the pipettes).

a common misconception about autoclaving is that the steam has to touch the object or medium to sterilize it. heat is the sterilizing factor. steam provides thermal mass to carry the heat better than air does with dry heat allowing for better penetration.

in other words, the salesman didn't know about that which he spoke or he did and was trying to sell you disposable pipettes.
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#11 leelee

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 07:49 PM

Just a thought for you and your supervisor to consider also- reusable pipettes will not neccessarily save you money, as cleaning them is not only labour intensive, but you will need to purchase cleaning solutions etc. Also, if you don't clean them properly and get contamination, the cost of repeating your work will far outweigh any savings you may have made....

#12 hobglobin

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 07:23 AM

Just a thought for you and your supervisor to consider also- reusable pipettes will not neccessarily save you money, as cleaning them is not only labour intensive, but you will need to purchase cleaning solutions etc. Also, if you don't clean them properly and get contamination, the cost of repeating your work will far outweigh any savings you may have made....

a good lab dishwasher should have a special rack for glass pipettes... (at least our machine has it ;) )

Edited by hobglobin, 18 April 2011 - 07:25 AM.

One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

#13 leelee

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 10:55 PM

True, but they need to be properly decontaminated first and then washed, then dried, replugged and sterilised so you are looking at a couple of hours minimum. Not to mention the amount of water used.

#14 pito

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 12:41 AM

True, but they need to be properly decontaminated first and then washed, then dried, replugged and sterilised so you are looking at a couple of hours minimum. Not to mention the amount of water used.


The machine is allready on.. you dont turn the washer on for those pipettes alone.

The drying is the same, you dry it with other stuff.
The replugging can indeed take some time, but not too long normally.
The sterilizing: also like the washing: you sterilize it with other equipment.

So the water/energy used to sterilize them is not more (not a lot).
The time to handle it: I dont know if it would make such a big difference...
(off course the washing etc takes time, but I am assuming you have more then just 1 "batch" of pipettes so you dont need to wait for them to be washed)


+ you forget something: the ones that are made (if you had new ones each time) they cost water/energy and a lot more then when you re-use them.

A lot of the products we use are made as trow away products while it often shouldnt.

If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some than not ask and stay stupid.





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