How to stop messing up the 96 deep well plate
How many hours a week do you lose to deep well plates?
The struggle is real. No matter how many pipettes or plates you have loaded in your research or work, your mind can start playing tricks on you when it comes to loading the dreaded 96 deep well plate.
It’s so easy to add volumes to the wrong well or wrong row. It’s just as easy to accidentally double the same deep well plate.
Or you load the entire wrong sample into multiple wells, costing you hours of work.
Or, maybe you did everything right, but you start second guessing yourself. Starting over.
Your time is too valuable. Your reagents are too valuable. And, most importantly, your data is too valuable.
We don’t have to tell you what a waste of time this is, when you usually have to remake reagents and mix. Plus, it doesn’t feel so great on the confidence level either.
Here are the best tips and tricks from others you can start incorporating into your lab routine.
What is a 96 deep well plate?
An often overlooked staple in labs and research facilities everywhere, deep well plates ideal for short-term and long-term sample storage, preparation, and mixing. They can have a square well or round bottom.
Their use vary, but they are often used in life science applications and research use, including:
- Tissue cell culture work and cell analysis
- Enzyme assays
- Proteomics studies
- Reagent reservoirs
- Safe sample storage (including cryogenic storage)
Top tips & tricks for overcoming 96 deep well plate mistakes
We’ve compiled a list of the top systems and approaches from your colleagues:
- Check your mindset and stay focused: As with anything in life, mistakes tend to happen when you’re tired, stressed, or distracted (... or all of the above). Stop worrying about speeding through your task. Slow down, and think about each step a bit more carefully. And stay focused. Talking and working makes some tasks go by faster, but not with this task. Some researchers hang a “No talking” sign up as they’re in the middle of this task. Relaxing music (especially instrumentals) is, however, encouraged if you need some background noise while you work!
- Match your pipette tips to corresponding wells: A fresh pipette box is the best for deep well plates. Match the well with the box as you go. Have a backup box on standby in case you run out, so you don’t have to mess up your system if you need more. Use pipette tips to keep track of well count.
- Write it out: Create an Excel sheet for master mix, and 96 deep well plate maps. Each well has a name for primers and samples. Set up all your master mixes in a logical way, and color code for each primer set (if using more than one). Bring this sheet with you in the lab, and check mark the sheet as you go. You could also write out reagent amounts on a post-it and keep it next to you as your sample key as you load. Pick a system to work through them (e.g. alphabetically or numerically, depending on how they’re coded) and never stray from your system. When making the mix, put everything in order on your rack, then move it to the far corner when done.
- Tape is your new best friend: Tape off the entirety of the plate, aside from the area you’re actively loading. Work across the plate this way, moving the tape each time a section is complete. You can label your tape (e.g. A - H, 1 - 12) to help you stay on track.
For example, while loading Gene A mastermix into columns 1 and 2 of your deep well plate, first take the tape and gently cover columns 3 and 4. You could even do this one column at a time, to stay organized. It helps stay oriented during the tough middle wells. Just remember to hold the plate down steadily when removing your tape, to avoid splashing.
- Stick with it: If you realize your system isn’t working, don’t change it midway. Change it before or after, but never halfway through (it leads to too much confusion!).
- Practice: Stay consistent with the process you choose. Committing these steps to muscle memory will take a while, but over time you should begin to see significant improvement in your work (and significantly less frustration in your workplace!)
Choose the right equipment:
From materials to quality, round wells or a conical bottom, there are various options when ordering a 96 deep well plate.
Some considerations include:
- Material: What samples are you using? Does your deep well need to be lobind coated or siliconized?
- Size: How much volume needs to fit in your deep well 96 PCR plate?
- Temperature: What temperatures do your deep wells need to withstand?
- What centrifugation forces can your 96 deep well plate withstand?
Here’s what most scientists are using for general applications:
These simple 96 Deep Well Plates
How these deep well plates help labs and lab managers:
- An easier way to collect and prepare samples (since there’s no shortage of those things happening in your lab every day)
- Get precious labspace back, with sturdy stacking capacity that make them easier to store than ever
- Avoid spillage with improved mixing of your small liquid samples
- A design that reduces retention to walls, so you waste less of your sample
- Pay 33% less than you would for other leading brands
- A round bottom
- Can be frozen or refrigerated (up to -80 C)
- Stability - they will not react with solvents in the plate
- Include no heavy metals for improved safely
- Designed according to international standard size (SBS), making them suitable for automatic workstations
- Allow for less liquid retention of your sample to walls
These 96 deep well plates are ideal for most general applications.
Choosing the right well plate can help you avoid:
- Missed data points
- Sample rerun
- Slowed workflow
- Missed project deadlines
96 deep well plates are found in labs and research centers around the world. They can save time, effort, and storage space, but a proper system is essential as you complete your work.
From increased storage capacity, to enhanced mixing, deep well plates are ideal for combinatorial chemistry and library applications, resistant to most chemicals, solvents, and alcohols used in combinatorial chemistry.
Ideal for sample collection, sample preparation, and long-term (or short-term) sample storage, deep well plates and sealing mats can improve workflow, and the right deep well plate will also help you produce the highest quality data for common applications in life sciences (and beyond).