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How to cut cost in a molecular biolog lab?


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21 replies to this topic

#1 julianne

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Posted 23 September 2004 - 01:02 AM

as crazy as this sounds, my director told us to cut cost in our lab.. :angry:

i am at my wits end on thinking how to do this?

we have already been very careful in our spending..

all this while we use as much 'non-kit' as possible even though its a pain you know where!!! kits are expensive in our place..

i know of labs where they actually recycle their tips.. but i think that's a big NO-NO...

my neurons are just snapping off thinking about this..

what i think we should do is fire the management and hire new lab staff.
this way we save cost (the directors and managements obscene salary) and increase productivity at the same time! (just kidding)

:lol:

#2 mario2004

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Posted 23 September 2004 - 01:26 AM

I recalled the practice we followed some years ago but have long been abandoned.

Pack your tips by yourself (I used to spend half hour packing tips everyday)

Make all your buffers and solutions by yourself

Don't take seriously vendor's suggestion on the amount of products to be used and time to be expired. For example, now I am still using restriction enzymes which expired in 2000! All vendors of taqs provide a protocol for a 50 ul reaction, you can scale down to 5 ul without problem! Competent cell sellers tell you to use 100 ul for transformation, you can use only 25 ul without problem.

There are many other ways of saving cost, hope others will contribute.

#3 julianne

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Posted 23 September 2004 - 04:33 PM

actually, in my place, we do pack our tips after buying in bulks.. we normally ask the trainees to help.. they're a great lot..

buffers like TAE, TBE, extraction buffers.. you guessed it.. self prepared..

the boss fails to see that the reason why we are not making money for him is that we are only 1 year and 2 months old as a biotech company.. and we started from zero.. now we are trying to develop molecular testing services.. there's lack of research in here..

and i'm having sleepless nights as the dead-line draws near!

arghhhhh :angry:

#4 matiefert

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Posted 24 September 2004 - 12:01 PM

Another way is to take good care of your equipment - expecially keeping it clean. This helps prevent calls from the service technician, makes all metal parts last longer before they become dangerously corroded, etc. Balancing centrifuge tubes carefully makes the drive last longer.

cheers,

Marj

#5 uaue

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Posted 29 September 2004 - 08:48 AM

we pack our tips as well. for my part it relaxes me. at times when i need to disconnect and just not think i pack them all( even for the lab mates). itīs funny that by the end of september almost all the labs here have no more funds (thatīs the time when the grants expire/renewed) and we have to wait for october to be loaded again. what we do is for the meantime borrow reagents from other lab (although oftentimes itīs comes out free because we forget about it) but it does help you stay afloat for a while.
i agree with mario2004 that donīt follow everything what they say. things could still work out fine without being so meticulous.

#6 bob1

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 07:33 PM

Hi

Racking tips is a good way to cut costs, also check out supplier's special deals on equipment, reagents etc, you may spend a little longer on the web than usual but you can get some great deals.

#7 bgardunia

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 05:27 PM

Do you extract your own taq? I of course NEVER have, but I have heard of some people doing so. Saves a lot of money, but quality is not as good. I would tell your boss that you get what you pay for in molecular biology. The reason people spend money on kits is they save time in experiments and from having to redo them because the reagents weren't perfect.

#8 Flash_Bulb

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Posted 15 October 2004 - 08:59 AM

They way that I cut costs in my labs are washing all of my utensils (not pipets thought) and use then over and over ;)

#9 bob1

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Posted 29 November 2004 - 01:08 PM

Hi

There is a new electrophoresis buffer out called SB, which is just NaOH (10mM) pH adjusted to 8.5 with boric acid (works out at about 2.6g/L). Note the lack of Tris, which is the expensive part of TBE and TAE, but works just the same, in fact you can electrophorese at much higher voltage, I routinely run gels at 200v for 0.5 hr with the same resolution and separation as 2 hours at 50v in TBE.

Check out BioTechniques 36:2 pp214-215 2004 for the article.

#10 clone

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 10:09 AM

Hi bob1
thabx alot for the SB buffer information. I used it but i m facing problems in resolution. I run 1kb marker on 0.8% agarose with 250volts for 30 min .
please help me if u have better results
regards

#11 DevGrp

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Posted 11 January 2005 - 03:52 AM

Your lab could be different, but here in the UK unless we are doing REALLY expensive experiments I have found that often money saving ideas tend to waste time and that the biggest bill is actually wages. Work out how much the staff cost per day and then decide how effecive your cost saving measures are against that (I was surprized).

That said I have found that looking at the sources of your consumerables and changing surpliers can save lots of money. Contact the local reps and push them abit, they usually have some room to reduce their prices.
good luck.
I have also been in the position when grants run out of bartering consumerables with other labs.

#12 labrat

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Posted 29 January 2005 - 09:21 PM

Here is another way of cutting lab cost - to reuse TAE buffer and even reuse the gel.
http://www.protocol-...?showtopic=4972

#13 gfischer

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 11:58 AM

Get quotes from sales reps. You would be amazed at how much money you can save this way. If you have a sales rep from a company, just make a spreadsheet of what you want to order and e-mail it to them. Even if you don't have a rep, try e-mailing the customer service address from the website. I almost always do this for orders of more than a few things. Be sure to mention it if you are a non-profit, academic or government institution, as many vendors have special deals. If a vendor won't give you a deal, don't use them unless you have to. Keep in mind that you should order in advance, since they may take a day or two to respond. Also, it can be worth the time to check different vendors/suppliers.

Good luck!!!
Above all things, if kindness is your king,
then heaven will be yours, before you meet your end

#14 swanny

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 06:39 PM

Hi bob1
thabx alot for the SB buffer information. I used it but i m facing problems in resolution. I run 1kb marker on 0.8% agarose with 250volts for 30 min .
please help me if u have better results
regards

I have been able to resolve the two ~500 bp bands in a size ladder. Instead of NaOH and boric acid, I use sodium tetraborate and boric acid, which is in the Biotechniques paper.

The gels run fast, but there is no real buffering capacity, so you have to replace the buffer fairly regularly. I have tied recovering it and reusing it, but that's only good for a few runs. haven't tried 'spiking' the old buffer with fresh buffer occasionally, though, but it might work if you're really pressed for money.
Heart disease kills more women than breast cancer, but heart attack symptoms differ from men's symptoms. Get to know your heart... it could save your life.

#15 gfischer

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 08:01 AM

Another suggestion: Look for non-profit suppliers of reagents. Depending on your research focus, a lot of governmental agencies have low-cost or even no-cost supply programs. The NIH supplies all sorts of molecular stuff related to AIDS research for free. Also, for antibodies, try the University of Iowa's Developmental Studies Hybridoma Bank (http://dshb.biology.uiowa.edu/). They offer a large number of antibodies for $25 and an acknowledgement in papers. I'm sure there are other organizations too. Anyone know any?
Above all things, if kindness is your king,
then heaven will be yours, before you meet your end




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