1st April 2013

Despite the major advances in the development and acceptance of non-isotopic molecular biology techniques, it is still apparent that radiolabelled chemicals will be needed in the laboratory to obtain the necessary sensitivity required of certain procedures.

As one of the more hazardous reagents a scientist must handle, it is important that all precautions are taken to minimise the risks when working with radiochemicals. Consequently, the introduction of the Versatainer system from ICN is likely to be of interest to all radiochemical users. The packaging is functionally designed to be used safely in any laboratory, providing the answers for versatility and environmental benefits as well as safety. As suppliers provide the products in liquid form usually shipped at ambient temperature, during transport the coloured liquid may be splashed around the container walls and under the cap with the obvious hazardous results. By supplying the radiochemical in a removable microcentrifuge tube it can easily be centrifuged to concentrate all the radiochemicals at the bottom of the tube ready for dispensing, so reducing the risks of contamination.

To reduce the dose rate of the worker, the removable microcentrifuge tube is contained within a polycarbonate cube having one side bevelled to act as a magnifier allowing a clear view of the inner tube and its contents while maintaining the shielding effect. The polycarbonate cap is designed to twist off one way leaving the microcentrifuge tube sealed or screw off the other way removing the inner vial cap and allowing access to the product. This cap also converts to a convenient tool for removing the completely sealed microcentrifuge tube for transfer to a centrifuge or for disposal, while shielding the worker's fingers from the high dose rates achievable when handling 32P. The polycarbonate block is contained within a square plastic outer container and is also tapered thus providing stability and allowing stacking to save valuable refrigerator storage space.

The complete package has triple seals to eliminate leakage: the first seal being the O-ring within the microcentrifuge cap, the second O-ring within the polycarbonate cap and the final seal within the lid of the outer square container. With the disposal of radioactive waste becoming more problematic due to changes in legislation and less availability of disposal routes, the Versatainer system tackles some of these environmental and cost issues by substantially reducing the amount of solid radioactive waste accumulated from packaging. Only the mirocentrifuge tube need be disposed of as radioactive waste. The polycarbonate block can be retained for use in the laboratory or disposed of as normal waste with the remainder of the packaging.


ICN Biomedicals Inc is based in Costa Mesa, California, USA. <a href=““ target=_blank></a>





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