Cryogenic vials...really necessary?

Dima Klenchin klenchin at
Thu Oct 9 20:06:39 EST 1997

In article <drm21-ya023080000910971807210001 at>, drm21 at (David Micklem) wrote:
#In article <pxpst2-0810971834020001 at>,
#pxpst2 at (Peter) wrote:
#>Depends on how long you plan to store them and what you will store them in.  
#>The drawback to snap caps is firstly contaimination.  Snap cap seals are
#>not 100% airtight.   And with the way they(the snap cap tubes) will be
#>opened and closed, one will greatly increase the chance of
#>contaimination.  Obviously, if they are bacterial cells and can be grown
#>under selection this is not that big of a deal but for eukaryotic cells
#>this is a big problem.
#>As I said earlier the snap caps are not air tight so exchange of air
#>between the inside and outside does occur, and since the outside air is
#>very dry(air at -20C does not have the capability of holding moisture in a
#>liquid state) the moisture will be drawn out of the tubes.  Remember back
#>to general chemistry the princible of sublimation(  WATER(solid)------>
#>WATER(gas) skips the liquid pase altogether).  It is what drives the water
#>out of the tube and onto the ice sheet in the freezer on the condensor. 
#>Since you have glycerol this process will be greatly impeeded due to the
#>lowering of the water Vapor pressure.
#>Storage time for bacteria in this manner would probably be no more than 9
#>months to a year and assuming that you put a secondary seal of parafilm
#>around the top.
#Hmm.  While this may be true in principle, I suspect that the rate of air
#flow between the snap-top tube and the freezer is low enough not to be a
#problem.  I certainly have glycerol stocks (at -80, FWIW) that are several
#years old but which are still viable (got some out just last week!).  They
#have no secondary seal of parafilm either.
#Maybe I'm just lucky....

Then so are most other people. The reasoning above is correct, the estimate
(9-12 mo) is certainly wrong. I just thawed a purified protein sample (stored 
at -80 in eppendorfs in aliquotes of 20 ul) and can attest that they did not 
lost any measurable amount of water during ~ 18 mo.


More information about the Methods mailing list