How to transport live bacteria

Posted On June 15, 2020

Universally, bacteria are a core part of diagnostics, research programs, and teaching platforms. For example, bacteria and microbiomes can be used for statistical analyses, and You can read more about it here. Therefore, it is equally important to focus on maintaining its viability. Therefore, before you can move these strains around, it is important to understand how to store it right.

Storing Specimen

There are numerous methods of storing and preserving bacterial microbiome, but the ideal methods must cater to functions such as experimental purpose, compatibility, and cell viability.
The rule of the thumb dictates that the decrease in temperature increases the viable storage time.

However, if the temperatures will go below freezing point, it’s important to reduce probable cell damage by using cryoprotectants.

The Bacterial strain in question determines how long it remains viable in any stated conditions. Even though cell death during the storage process is inevitable, it must be reduced to the minimum. If the bacterial cultures are used often, they can be stored in stab cultures or agar plates at 4°C in any standard refrigerator.

On the other hand, strains that will not be used within weeks should be put away on a long-term basis to ensure maximum viability. Long-term storage solutions for bacteria include:

  • Cryoprotectants
  • Freezing
  • Freeze-drying

This can be achieved through snap-freezing in liquid nitrogen or ethanol dry ice. However, constant freezing and thawing destroy their microbiome structure, thus reducing their viability.


Precautions When Handling and Transporting Bacterial Samples and Specimen

Whenever possible, all culture specimens should be collected before any antimicrobial agents are administered. Even though swabs are convenient, fluid and tissue are more significant for mycobacterial culture.

All specimens should be delivered to the laboratory as soon as the collection process is complete. Respiratory specimen, stool, and urine should be refrigerated if this is not possible. For viral culture, they should immediately be transported on dry ice to the lab.

Technicians can move specimens via flight Technical services if there is no instruction to deliver immediately. However, preservation measures must be maintained, even on fast modes such as flying.

Bacterial cultures should never be moved on dry ice unless otherwise instructed. Instead, they should be moved in room temperatures.

 Transporting Bacteria

When considering airplane mode, they should be equipped with humidified incubators and well-trained flying technicians.

Bacterial samples should be prepped for flight shipments by solidifying the agarose solution and proper sealing. An airplane is the most dependable mode when time counts in maintaining cell viability.

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