Going Anaerobic

Anaerobic Chamber Catalyst

There are several factors that will help to insure that your chamber will ‘go’ anaerobic.

1. Make sure that you have a good supply of the anaerobic gas (tri-mix gas). Standard anaerobic gas consists of; 90% Nitrogen (N2), 5% Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and 5% Hydrogen (H2). Special gas mixture may be obtained through your present specialty gas supplier.

2. A fresh catalyst must be present for the system to work effectively. The catalyst must be baked for 2 hours at 160 degrees centigrade before the initial setup and before each day that they chamber is in use.

3. An anaerobic indicator (oxygen indicator) is used to confirm that this condition has been achieved inside of the chamber. We recommend using the type where the strips are vacuum pack and have to be opened inside of the chamber. If you are using the ‘oxygen indicator strips’ that are normally used in jar, remember that they have to be kept moist to work properly.

What if you have too much oxygen?  Make sure the catalyst is being baked out properly.  If the dehumidifier is taking excessive amount of moisture out of the air, you probably have someone entering the chamber without properly running through the three cycles.  If you have slow growth in the incubator part of the chamber, take a small fan into the chamber and blow out the incubator portion while purging the chamber.

If all else fails… give us a call!

Why Is Social Media Engagement So Important Anyway?

Social media has become so big that any business, big or small, has to get on board and start posting.  BioTechnical Services Inc. understands that the new generation of scientist and researchers are not at home watching TV commercials looking for services. They are following the people they want to hear and unfollowing those with nothing to say.  If they want to see commercials they go to YouTube. More and more people are active on social media, getting their news, their updates and participating in daily interactions online. This is where you will find BioTechnical Services Inc.  So connect with us and find out what we can do for you!

Let’s start a conversation today!

Importance Of Electrical Safety Checks In Laboratory Settings

Blog glassware

   We should all know the hazards of electricity before we even begin to think about using it.  Unfortunately, while a lot of people understand the danger of this energy source, many do not know how in fact electricity energizes our electronics, vehicles and appliances. This in itself is a main cause of accidental electric shocks and deaths around the world.  So, to fully understand the dangers, it’s important to educate yourself on how electricity works.


    In a laboratory setting, the potential for electrical accidents is extremely high.  Due to the nature of chemicals involved, equipment that utilize power and other potential risks, electrical safety checks in laboratories are absolutely necessary.  Understanding that without this in demand source of energy, a laboratory would fail to function, is reason enough to learn how to use electricity safely.


   Without going into all the technical jargon that applies to electrical safety and applications, there are some critical things that can be performed prior to using electrical devices in a laboratory. One of the most common issues in any electrical setting is faulty wiring.  Before using, it’s highly recommended to check the wiring for cracks or breaks in the insulation.  If found, it’s important to replace these damaged wires. A quick fix with duct tape will not solve the problem! Additionally laboratories should not overload circuits and limit the use of extension cords.  Failure to do so is an electrical shock or fire waiting to happen!

Blog Electrical Safety Test

   Laboratory electrical safety checks should also be performed on electrical outlets.  Outlets should be checked annually and should have a proper grounding system.  A two prong outlet is not a grounded outlet.  Grounded outlets are required to have a third wire (green) that is grounded to the junction box and run back to the electrical panel.  Failure to have properly grounded outlets in laboratories is another fire or shock in the making.


   These are just a couple of reasons electrical safety checks are recommended for laboratories. The dangers associated with chemicals lists laboratories as a must for frequent  safety checks of electrical equipment as well as the electrical devices.  Without safety checks on the electrical system in a laboratory, the risk of fire, shock and explosions are much greater. Safety checks of laboratories should be completed on a regular basis by an electrical inspector designated for the area and laboratory assigned.

For additional information on the importance of performing electrical safety checks in laboratories, please see this link.


Distilled or Deionized Water? What’s the Difference?

Regular water from the tap, though not unhealthy to consume, can cause a great deal of problems when used with highly sensitive lab equipment.  It is important to remove ionic impurities and minerals from water to achieve precise results in any testing, formulations, calibrations or cleaning.


Impurities found in water include suspended particles, colloidal particles, dissolved organic and inorganic solids, dissolved gases, microorganisms, viruses and DNA.


Two of the most common processes used to remove ionic impurities from water are distillation and deionization (DI).




Distillation purifies liquid by boiling it, capturing the steam and then condensing the vapors. The condensed vapors are then returned to their liquid state finishing the distillation process.  Solids and other contaminants, salt being the most important, remain in the original container with just pure water being reduced to vapor. It takes approximately five gallons of water to create one gallon of distilled water.





Deionization removes minerals and ions, both cations (positively charged ions) and anions (negatively charged ions), through a chemical process. DI uses specially manufactured ion-exchange resins which exchange hydrogen ions and hydroxide ions for dissolved minerals, which are then recombined to form water (this leaves DI in an unbalanced condition and with an electrical charge.)  DI does not significantly remove uncharged organic molecules, viruses or bacteria. Because deionized water is unbalanced, it goes after any dissolvable or absorbable ions on contact trying to return to a balanced state.


So how do you know whether you should use distilled or deionized water in an application?


Lab Uses


Because distilled water is pure, it’s valuable in research since it is a constant and does not interfere with any chemical processes. Distilled water is used primarily as a solvent for reagent preparation, as a calibration standard or analytical blank, for cleaning testing equipment and rinsing an analyte. Distilled water is used when making High Purity Water. It should be used in all equipment sterilization.


Deionized water is used when an application requires a soft solvent.  DI water works best in cooling applications because of its lack of mineral deposits. Deionized water is also used in reagent preparation, transferring an analyte within a test procedure, as a calibration standard or analytical blank, and for cleaning lab equipment. DI water is best for washing glassware because of the absence of minerals and ions.  DI is corrosive and should not be used when there will be extensive contact with certain metals.


As Drinking Water


Deionized water should never be consumed as drinking water since the deionized process does not remove bacteria or viruses (compared to municipally filtered drinking water.) The jury is still out about the benefits of drinking distilled water.


Can They Be Substituted?


Not always – distilled water can be substituted for deionized water, but deionized water should never be exchanged when distilled waster is called for in any application. Always check with the manufacturer’s instructions before speculating about whether distilled water or deionized water should be used. Your Biotechnical Services technician can always help you determine which one to use.

Time to Celebrate: Happy World Metrology Day 2013!

homepage_posterWord Metrology Day commemorates the signatures of seventeen nations of the Metre Convention treaty in 1875. The Convention set the basis for global collaboration in the science of measurement and in its industrial, commercial and societal application. The original aim of the Metre Convention – the worldwide uniformity of measurement – remains as important today as it was in 1875.


The theme of this year’s World Metrology Day is “Measurements in Daily Life.” How many times a day do you measure something? It can be the time, food, equipment, solutions or fuel for your car.


Not surprisingly, most people are unaware that there exists a worldwide community specializing in metrology which is the science of measurements. Everybody depends on this community to come up with and maintain measurement standards across the board.


Across the world, national metrology institutes continually advance measurement science by developing and validating new measurement techniques at whatever level is needed. They also participate in comparisons coordinated by the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM) to ensure the reliability of measurement results worldwide.


Many measuring instruments are controlled by law or are subject to regulatory control, for example the scales used to weigh goods in a shop, instruments to measure environmental pollution, or meters used to bill energy. The International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) develops international Recommendations, the aim of which is to align and harmonize requirements for these types of instruments worldwide.


World Metrology Day recognizes and celebrates the contribution of all the people that work in intergovernmental and national organizations throughout the year on behalf of all.


So celebrate today by looking at some of the items and methods you use to measure!


Thank you to the World Metrology Day organization for the information.


Do Your Lab Instruments Need Calibration? Find Out Here

a2laYou know that consistent and timely calibration of your lab equipment is essential to all of your production and research to meet regulatory requirements.

Determing when you need to calibrate depends on a number of factors:

  • If the equipment is new
  • If it has been moved or disturbed
  • After any repairs are done
  • If it has been altered or modified in any way
  • After a specific time period has elapsed
  • When the number of operating hours is reached/exceeded
  • Before or after a crucial measurement or critical test
  • When test results seem suspect
  • Manufacturer’s recommendation/specs

The amount of time to calibrate the equipment varies from as short as one day to a week or more. The more complicated the instrument, the longer it can take to get an accurate calibration.

And adding to the amount of time for a calibration, is if the piece of equipment needs repairs or new parts.

Having an essential instrument down for calibration costs you both employee time and money.

A cost-effective way to reduce the loss of time and money is to have your instruments calibrated on off days or hours.

Biotechnical Services now offers service on the second Saturday of each month.



Saturday Service





Saturday Service



Now you can schedule any on-site calibration, service or repair


of your lab equipment without losing any downtime!


We now offer Saturday service on the 2nd Saturday of each month.


Space is limited – contact us to schedule your appointment right away!


All Saturday service calls include 50% off Travel Charges.


Contact BTS at 1-800-274-0287 or schedule on-line.

Saturday Hours: 9AM – 5PM


5 Practical Reasons to Furnish Your Lab with Pre-Owned Lab Equipment

Investing in new lab equipment can stretch the boundaries of your budget. And with funding cuts and other economic issues, now is the time to make prudent budget decisions. One of the easiest ways to save on instrument costs is to buy pre-owned and re-certified equipment and parts. Here are 5 reasons to buy pre-owned/re-certified over new:

  1. Same product at a reduced price
  2. Discontinued stock
  3. Finding the ‘hard-to-find’ part
  4. Sustainability
  5. Increasing your return on assets


Same Equipment at a Reduced Price

Pre-owned lab instruments can come from a variety of sources:

  • labs upgrading equipment
  • closing or consolidation of labs
  • inventory overstock
  • damaged equipment
  • cancelled orders

If a lab is upgrading their equipment, it doesn’t necessarily mean their old equipment in not in proper working order. It just means that you can get a great bargain. Closing or consolidating of labs is an everyday occurrence. Again, this doesn’t mean the pre-owned appliance isn’t in perfect working order – just that it can be had for a great price. Overstocks and cancelled orders are the best value just like any other piece of electronic gear. Buying damaged equipment is a little trickier.

First, you want to be familiar with the seller. Check out their reputation and any online reviews. Second, find out what the extent of the damage was. Small dings can be easily fixed without a great deal of expense. With a larger problem, ask for test results to see if it is working properly. Some damaged items may be sold ‘as is’. Check to see if there is a warranty. And make sure the engineers are factory-trained technicians. Pre-owned units should be repaired to meet factory/manufacturers’ specifications.


Discontinued Equipment

frustrate 1

It’s discontinued?

Manufacturers choose to discontinue products when a new (better, faster, etc.) one reaches the market. Along with the instrument, they may also discontinue creating parts made specifically for that model. When that occurs, finding a pre-owned piece or part is your best, and probably only, bet.

Sometimes the manufacturer or their dealers may still have the unit or a part you need in stock – even if the equipment has been discontinued. Places like eBay and Craigslist are good places to check.  Contacting a local parts or third party equipment dealer may also help you find exactly what you need. And if not in stock, they can usually locate the part or apparatus.

Remember too, that just because the manufacturer has decided to stop producing a certain piece of equipment, that the equipment is not obsolete. You may not need all the new bells and whistles. Buying a discontinued piece of equipment could mean years of production without increasing your overhead.


Finding that ‘Hard-to-find’ Part

It can be very frustrating to try to find that part you need that you know must be out there somewhere. The manufacturer doesn’t have it in stock and neither does the local retailer.  A company that sells used lab equipment may have that part on hand. Lab equipment normally has a long life-span, so if your equipment is still running, there’s a good possibility parts are available.



recycleRecycling, or buying used, lab equipment is a way of maintaining sustainability for several different reasons: the item is not taking up place in a landfill, there’s no worry about hazardous waste, and upholding your corporate social responsibility program.

Many labs now have Sustainability programs that require the concerted effort to reduce costs and waste. Harvard Labs have instituted a Harvard Labs Reuse List to find new homes for their unused lab equipment. Purchasing pre-owned instruments, is an easy way to uphold your labs sustainability program.


Increasing Your Return on Assets

The biotech industry is very competitive. Whether it’s finding new treatments or manufacturing new medications, first to market can mean millions of dollars for your lab. Buying used will save you a lot of time and money – which goes a long way towards improving your ROI. The most obvious way to increase your return on assets ratio is to spend less to acquire the assets necessary to run your business. Reducing your inventory costs helps to increase your revenues. Additionally, you will save time on training your employees if most are already familiar with how to operate the device. Taking time away from work won’t be necessary for your researchers to learn new systems, software or procedures.


Five Practical Reasons Why

So there are five great reasons to furnish your lab with pre-owned lab equipment. Finding a reputable dealer in used equipment is your next step. Research the companies out there, look at eBay or Craigslist, and then decide on the best deal. Don’t think “used” means “non-operational” or “unreliable”.  It means saving time, money and the environment.