July 25, 2024
Cryopreservation Equipment

Cryopreservation Equipment Used to Preserve Biological Materials at Ultra-Low Temperatures

History of Cryopreservation

The concept of cryopreservation, or the preservation of biological materials at ultra-low temperatures, has been around since the 1950s when it was discovered that sperm could survive freezing and thawing. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s that consistent methods for freezing and thawing cells successfully using cryoprotectants like glycerol started to emerge. Since then, cryopreservation techniques have advanced tremendously, allowing the long-term storage of a wide variety of cell and tissue types well into the future.

Freezers Used for Cryopreservation

The backbone of any Cryopreservation Equipment facility is high-quality freezers that can reliably maintain samples at cryogenic temperatures well below freezing. For long-term storage, the most common types of freezers used are:

Mechanical Freezers: These utilize a compressor and refrigerant to actively cool samples down to temperatures between -80°C to -196°C. Higher-end models certified for storage have backup systems and temperature monitoring.

Liquid Nitrogen Freezers: Also calledLN2 freezers, these tanks hold liquid nitrogen to passively cool samples down to around -150°C. They require regular nitrogen refills but provide an economical option for large sample storage.

Vapor Phase Systems: In these, samples are suspended above a reservoir of liquid nitrogen vapor to achieve ultra-low cooling rates through passive heat transfer. They provide a steady temperature without refills.

Controlled Rate Freezers: Used for the freezing process itself, these have computer-controlled cooling and warming rates to minimize ice crystal damage during cryopreservation. Popular models include Planer, Kryo, and Cryotech freezers.

Temperature Monitoring and Alarm Systems

Ensuring samples remain frozen at the proper temperature range over long periods requires careful temperature monitoring and alarms for any temperature excursions outside set limits. Equipment used includes:

Data Loggers: Small temperature probes connected to a central computer system record temperatures over time for documentation and trend analysis.

Temperature Monitoring Displays: Wall-mounted computer screens display current and historic temperature readings from networked freezers for at-a-glance monitoring.

Remote Temperature Monitoring: Systems allow remote access to temperature data via cellular modems or the internet so off-site staff can check on freezers.

Alarm Systems: Audible and visual alarms alert users if temperatures rise above or fall below safe thresholds, along with remote alarm notification capabilities.

Cryogenic Storage Tanks

For long-term or backup storage of cell banks and biobanks, ultralow temperature cryogenic tanks maintained in the vapor phase of liquid nitrogen may be used. Tanks can hold from just a few to thousands of samples. Equipment includes:

Vessels: Insulated stainless steel vessels in diameter sizes from 50cm-300cm for holding liquid nitrogen.

Racks: Trays, canisters and vials are stored on specialty designed racks taking advantage of the vapor phase above liquid nitrogen level.

Transfer Systems: Automated or manual systems to load and retrieve samples in and out of storage tanks through lockable access ports.

Monitoring: As with freezers, tanks also have monitoring systems to track nitrogen and temperature levels remotely.

Reservoirs: Large 500-1000L liquid nitrogen reservoirs are used to periodically refill storage tanks to maintain cryogenic temperatures.

Cell and Biobank Management Software

To properly catalog, track and manage the large quantities of samples housed in cryobanks and biobanks, specialized software systems are required. Popular options include:

CryoBioBank: Supports over 25 data fields for sample descriptions, storage locations, test results. Barcoding integration. GMP/GLP compliant records and reporting.

Coriell Institute Biobank System: Used by numerous biobanks worldwide for inventory, aliquot distribution. Flexible configuration for tissue, microbial, bank types.

TTP Labtech Sample Cloud: LIMS modules for accessioning, storage, distribution. Integrates with monitoring systems. Audit trails, role-based security, ELN capabilities.

lociSTORE: Manufactured by Brooks Life Sciences. Supports ISO 9001, traceability from donor to recipient. Customizable forms, import/export functions. 21 CFR Part 11 compliant.

Cryogenic Vessels and Accessories

Additional hardware integral to transporting and working with samples at liquid nitrogen temperatures includes:

Cryogenic Vessels: Vacuum-insulated containers in 1L-10L sizes for sample transfer between freezers and tanks or transportation.

Cryogenic Gloves: Insulated gloves allowing hands-free manipulation of samples suspended in vapor phase above LN2.

Transfer Dewars: Cylindrical containers on wheeled bases facilitate sample movement between buildings.

Cryogenic Tongs and Forceps: Special tools made from non-sparking metals like brass for gripping vials and containers in liquid nitrogen or vapor phase.

Properly outfitting a cryopreservation facility requires an integrated system of high-performance freezers, monitoring equipment, storage tanks, management software, and cryogenic handling tools. Together these enable the long-term preservation of precious biological materials below -150°C. Advances continue toward more automated and remote controlled systems for greater efficiency and safety. Cryopreservation equipment plays a vital role in research capabilities across industries like biobanking, reproductive medicine, and regenerative therapies.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it.