Blood Centrifuge Tube: A Useful Guide

There are countless different Blood Centrifuge Tubes on the market. This can be confusing. In this blog, we will take a closer look at the different types of centrifuge tubes available. and how to decide which one is right for you.

Types of blood centrifuge tubes

There are many different tubes that can be spun in a centrifuge. Tube with screw cap or rubber stopper. And those made of plastic or glass, the list goes on! However, plastic vacuum blood collection tubes are probably the most commonly used tubes in centrifuges, especially in hospital settings.

Vacutainer was developed by Becton Dickinson (BD) in 1949 and is a registered trademark of the company. Today, there are many imitations, but BD Vacutainer remains the world leader in centrifuge tubes.

Vacutainer consists of plastic tubing with color-coded rubber stoppers. During manufacture, the rubber stopper creates a vacuum seal that allows the user to draw a predetermined amount of liquid from the sample. There are a number of different draw options depending on how much fluid (such as blood) to draw from a source (such as a patient).

Color-coded blood centrifuge tubes

Color-coded hats aren’t just a way to light up the lab. Each color indicates which additive is present in the test tube. It also helps to visually identify additives for different tests. Here is a brief overview of common colors you may encounter in the lab:

Purple contains an additive called EDTA, which acts as an anticoagulant. It is usually used to test a complete blood count or erythrocyte sedimentation rate.

The yellow top tube contains silica particles and serum separation gel. It can be used for a variety of tests, including liver function tests and blood lipid analysis.

Instead, the gray top tube was used for only two tests. It contains two additives – sodium fluoride and potassium oxalate. This tube is used to test for glucose and lactate.

More detailed information on the color of centrifuge tubes is available through this Contact us.

Standardized color coding

The different colors on the tubes can be confusing as different countries use different color codings. For example, EU colour codes are based on BS 4851 and US colour codes are based on ISO 6710. Some tube manufacturers must stock both types to meet the needs of their global customer base. Not only is this expensive, but it is also extremely inefficient.

This is why many welcome the new ISO 6710:2017 – Disposable containers for the collection of human venous blood samples. Released last July, it called for global standardisation of cap colour. However, nothing is set in stone yet. Over the next five years, the market will determine how restrictive the current ISO recommendations will be in the next revision of the document.

Having said that, laboratories may choose to validate their procedures in the future and update them according to ISO 6710:2017.

Choose the right adapter

Once you have selected your tubes, you now need to select the appropriate centrifuge adapter. Properly supporting your centrifuge tubes during runs is critical, which is why adapters are used.

Look carefully at the outline of the centrifuge tube. Is the base tapered, flat or round? This will help you choose the right adapter. The holes for the centrifuge tubes will be drilled with different profiles. If you decide to spin the conical tube in an adapter designed for flat tubes, the tube may break under centrifugal force.

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