Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why fraction blood?
Blood fractionation is an efficient means of getting the maximum number of analytes from a whole blood sample for analysis. When a whole blood sample is centrifuged, the sample separates into plasma, buffy coat and red blood cells. The plasma can be harvested and stored for analysis of analytes, biomarkers etc, the buffy coat can be recovered for immediate or future extraction of DNA and if deemed necessary, the red blood cells can be stored for future reference.
Q: Who commonly fractions blood?
The most common use for blood fractionation is in biobanking, where the key motivation is the storage of buffy coat for future DNA extraction. This has two distinct advantages. In longitudinal prospective studies buffy coat can be stored for future extraction of DNA which is especially useful as only a small percentage of those samples may ever be used for analysis, ensuring unnecessary and costly DNA extraction is not performed on samples that will never be analysed. The second advantage is the lower volume for DNA extraction meaning a lower cost of extraction. Other advantages are that you can take less blood samples from patients because they are processed more efficiently and you also retrieve plasma and red cell fractions if necessary.
Q: Why should I consider automated blood fractionation?
Manual blood fractionation is a time consuming, laborious and potentially hazardous job; to get high quality, consistent results requires well trained and motivated staff. Automated fractionation maximizes yield and sample quality, improving throughput and data tracking whilst minimizing cost and operator exposure. Manual blood fractionation is highly variable between technicians and even a skilled technician will get variable results.
Q: How many samples do I need to process before automated blood fractionation become advantageous?
An average technician will process 60-80 samples per day when considered over the duration of a project. Automated blood fractionation becomes cost effective with a good return on investment when you are looking to process >200 samples per day but this figure is dependent on the geographical region and the cost of technicians. The key factor to consider along side cost is reproducibility and how highly you view it. Manual fractionation is a mundane job meaning that results will be variable and staff turnover high, so recruitment costs should also be considered.
Q: At what temperature does the processing take place?
The ABF system can work at a range of temperatures from ambient down to +4ºC. To prolong the life of the plasma phase we would recommend working at +4ºC to maintain sample integrity. If samples are stored and shipped at +4ºC, they can then be processed in the ABF at +4ºC ensuring that once drawn from the body the blood is stored at +4ºC or lower. Refrigeration is an option on the ABF200 and ABF500.
Q: Is my labware compatible?
The RTS ABF processes 6ml and 10ml Vacutainers® and 0.5-1.4ml cryovials as standard. Other labware can be accommodated so please contact us to discuss this further.
Q: What facilities will I require on site?
Electrical Supply - 220-240V single phase 50Hz or 110-120V single phase 60Hz
Machine dimensions - 2m (h) x 2.4m (l) x 1.0m(w)
De-ionised water supply
Access - 1.5m surrounding area (except rear)
Extraction – suitable connection to building extract system if required
Q: How long does it take to install an ABF?
It commonly takes around 2-3 days to install an ABF and test all protocols.
Q: Is it possible to move an ABF after installation?
Yes, the ABF is fiitted with castors for easy manoeuvrability and is designed to fit through most laboratory doors.
Q: Is it possible to change the configuration of the deck for additional applications?
Yes, system configuration can be modified. Contact RTS for further details
Q: What is included in the RTS 12-month warranty?
Technical Support - Access by dedicated telephone support lines, e-mail and internet to the technical support team and knowledge base within RTS
Preventative Maintenance - One routine scheduled maintenance visit (labour costs and standard materials included)
Replacement Parts - Faulty parts replacement included
Site Support - Prompt site attendance work days (Mon- Fri 9.00am to 5.00 pm)
Additional Support – Call out visits in the event of system breakdown
Q: What post-warranty support is available?
After the 12-month warranty period has expired, cover can be extended at an additional annual cost; please contact RTS for further details.
Q: What enhanced support packages are available?
Please contact RTS, we will be pleased to discuss your specific requirements in detail.
Q: Is the ABF CE marked?
Yes, all RTS products are CE marked as standard and are supplied with UL listing
Q: Does the ABF have an emergency stop?
Yes. Please contact us if you have specific questions / requirements for system safety.