air-thermo cycler evaluations

carlos h. pedemonte pedemonte at JETSON.UH.EDU
Mon Feb 21 14:37:32 EST 1994

We have been asked to put in the network the comments we received with
respect to the air-thermo cycler from idaho technology.  We received near
ten mails, almost all were favorable to the instrument.  We tested the
instrument and liked it very much.  Thank you for the answers. 

The comments are:

We have been using the IT Air Cycler for about 1.5 years:

Major Pros:

     1. Speed

     2. Rapid attainment of set temps minimizes unwanted side reactions.
     Therefore, in contrast to our experience with block
     heater/cooler cyclers, we have had almost NO failed PCR reactions
     in general and in particular obtained excellent amplification
     from reaction mixtures that were refractory in block cyclers.

     3. Handling the cap tubes is min problem and has the offsetting
advantage of eliminating mineral oil or any of its substitutes.

Major Con:

     1. Not good for radioactive samples because contaminating aerosols
     upon heat sealing are unavoidable.  Therefore, cycle sequencing
     reactions that depend on radioisotopic detection, etc. are not
     convenient to perform.

Overall, I HIGHLY recommend this machine.

anthony (avf at


Three more messages with similar evaluations are not shown.  

I am a scientist working at the University of Utah and I have
been using an air thermo cycler for about five years now.  In the interest
of full disclosure I should tell you that I am so enthusiastic about the
machine that I have formed some official ties to Idaho Technology.  The
machine is fast fast fast.  It really changes the way you plan an do PCR
experiments.  You can optimize your reactions much more carefully and that
can make a big improvement  in your success rate.  The speed also decreases
non-specific priming which can be a problem with complex templates.  The
unusual sample containers capillaries) can be a psychological barrier for
some people but I have found that once people use the machine it no longer
a problem.  A repeating pattern for the company has been that the first
sale at a University is tough, but after one machine gets in, other labs
use it and then have to have their own machine.  There are at least six
machines here at the University of Utah purchased by people that first used
my machine.  If you have any specific questions feel free to email or call
me (801-581-6307).  If you need Idaho Tech literature their number is
-Randy Rasmussen
Seems like you got some better advice from others - but our lab got one on t
rial a few years ago and no-one liked it. Sample preparation was difficult, it w
as very different from conventional PCR machines (programs, etc.) and it was VER
Y noisy.

Jim Galt (Jim_Galt at

I've had one for about 6 months now, and I like it a lot.  It really is
much faster than any other thermal cycler, so your PCR is done in 20 or 30
minutes.  Sealing the ends of the glass capillary tubes, and snapping off
the ends when you're done, is kind of awkward at first, but after a little
practice it becomes almost as routine as setting up reactions in
microcentrifuge tubes.  The company will send you a demo model to try out
for a few days, and they are very knowledgeable and helpful.  I recommend
trying it out.

John H. McDonald ("mcdonald at
Department of Biology
University of Delaware
Carlos H. Pedemonte                     Telephone:  713-743-1211 (office)
Dept. of Pharmacology                               713-743-1228 (lab)
University of Houston                   Fax:        713-743-1229           
Houston, TX 77204-5515                  e-mail: pedemonte at

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