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Derived from comprehensive evaluation of all potential risks to sample preservation, as part of best practice, biobanks should host a system of comprehensive and intricate solutions that serve as the ultimate fail-safe solution.
Providing the correct infrastructure to protect all materials within a facility, biobanks must be armed with back-up power supplies, duplicate data records, and highly accurate monitoring solutions, to name a few. Protecting sample integrity from any potential deviations that could compromise them.
Withnell Sensors partners with SenseAnywhere to provide UK biobanks and biorepositories with the answer, the AiroSensor. Highly reliable temperature, humidity and CO2 monitoring, means you can be rest assured that your samples are secured by management best practices.
The role of a biobank
From sample storage chambers to biobanks and biorepositories, these housing facilities are unified by one common goal; to ensure that materials are safe, unparished, and functioning upon request for their use.
Biobanks and biorepositories are typically of larger scale - some to even monumental size - housing up to 20 million samples. Think of a biobank as a substantial treasure trove of science, housing a multitude of biological samples from human tissues, blood, DNA cells and biofluids, as well as collections of plant, animal, microbe, and other nonhuman materials.
Storage can last for decades, sometimes indefinitely, providing that the environment remains optimal for sufficient sample preservation.
The best practice of maintaining and monitoring biorepository areas actually starts with the space itself. Strict temperature, humidity, light exposure and sterility conditions help determine the suitability of a space and future storage parameters.
In house bio banks vs outsourced facilities
Biobanking can be done in house or outsourced to large-scale storage areas known as a biorepository. What differentiates the two traditionally, is the banking of human biological materials (which is commonly stored in a remote area of the laboratory) versus the banking of various specimens from all living organisms (which are more likely to be deposited off site, by a third-party business or other).
Regardless of the banking format, the stored goods are essential research reagents and the biobanking process is an optimum extension of safeguarding R&D work for future years. Biobanking also enables co-stored sample approaches, where vital materials can be segregated but still stored at the same locations.
Depending on the company and purpose of what is being stored, businesses may opt for in house biobanks to allow ease of access to mid-term storage materials. On the other hand, many larger businesses in the defence, aerospace, pharmaceutical manufacturing, food and agriculture or other sectors may opt for remote repositories storage for the long-term protection of fall-back materials.
To keep these kinds of biological materials safe, global organisations use biobanks that are meticulously built to survive a number of external and determinantal factors, from loss of power supply to extreme environmental disasters. Although these exist across the world, the UK in particular is currently investing to maintain position as the worlds science superpower, according to The Business Desk.
Take the Svalbard Global Seed Vault for example, offering highly secure, long-term storage to protect our future food supply. Practically impenetrable, this facility is thought as one of the most stable places in the world, built to withstand asteroid impacts, nuclear bombs and more!
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Positioning these biorepositories external to headquarters provides ultimate safety and peace of mind, prolonging the future of any business should it be victim to natural disasters or power supply interruptions.
With this, the outsourcing of biological storage is often the chosen solution by many, but how can independent biorepositories or in-house biobanks offer the most controlled environments?
Svalbard Global Seed Vault
The best practices for controlled biobanking
The storage of highly sensitive materials doesn’t come without its challenges. There is little room for error, with stringent measures put in place solely to maintain sample integrity and preserve quality.
To achieve such high-level protection, biobanking facilities deploy proactive monitoring systems. Designed to monitor, manage and protect, management systems alert typically alert key stakeholders of any deviations or violations from optimal environmental conditions, including temperature, ventilation, security, power and more.
Biobanking requires a thoroughly planned and constructed security network that runs simultaneously throughout the facility. Best practice is that a system should be in place to collectively or individually manage the key features of running a banking space, these include:
1) Facility temperature monitoring
As one of the most decisive parameters in ill preservation, temperature must be monitored with ultimate precision. Various environments require differing temperatures. These can range from -80°c or lower for ultra-low temperature conditions, to standard freezer and refrigerator environments at around -20°c to 8°c.
Monitoring systems will not only record but actively assess temperature parameters, confirming sample viability with ease by ensuring accurate temperature conditions on a continuous and real-time basis.
Cloud-based temperature monitoring systems, much like the AiroSensor, champion this space, due to the wireless offering and combined area data abilities they possess. Co-storage biorepositories in particular require monitoring systems for every environmentally controlled area or unit.
Providing highly accurate temperature measurements ranging from -200°C to +200°C, the AiroSensor in particular, provides reliable temperature monitoring for even extreme applications, from ultra-low temperature environments to cryogenic storage.
2) Air quality maintenance
Air quality also plays an essential role in biobank management. Linked with the integrity and quality of stored samples, poor humidity levels can not only contribute to sample degradation, but also affect the operation of any storage equipment within the banking facility.
Humidity levels can be influenced depending on the location of the facility. For example, high humidity areas such as coastal areas may need to deploy additional de-humidifier systems.
Additionally, CO2 is also an important measurement that must be observed, indicating adequate airflow and ensuring that the environmental conditions remain adequate for optimal sample preservation.
Partnered with its temperature monitoring ability, the AiroSensor offers a 3-in-1 monitoring tool. Employing an air quality safeguarding measure and providing sufficient CO2, the Airosensor monitors relative humidity between 0-99%. This multi-measurement system is capable of storing vital data all in one place!
3) Equipment functionality and alarm response set up
As well as managing the external biobanking environment, the functionality of equipment used to store biological materials also requires temperature or humidity monitoring.
The stability of any unit, equipment and system can also generate potential oscillations which means any management systems that are put in place must also transcend to the tangible functionality of the biobank as well as the abstract factors.
Detection and alert of any deviations outside of set parameters should be reported in real time for immediate resolutions. For this, comprehensive alarming system which notify key stakeholders are a necessary best practice.
Long-term protection is vital, particularly in such an environment where systematic failure is not an option. This is where the AiroSensor capabilities really shine, offering a 10-year battery life for a decade of accurate and around-the-clock monitoring, capable of alerting key stakeholders of temperature deviations in storage cupboards, via multiple channels: email, text, or voice.
4) Documentation and auditing for ongoing maintenance
Continuous, traceable data logging is essential for guaranteeing consistent monitoring of all inventories. Monitoring and data logging systems are implemented to capture and store a detailed account of all temperature, humidity and additional parameter records.
For this, a fully automated monitoring system is needed, which the AiroSensor can provide. Logging data records every 5 minutes, the AiroSensor offers comprehensive assessment of temperature night or day, ensuring no fluctuations are missed.
The AiroSensor is shaping the future of biobanking management. Offering a complete monitoring system for the ultimate safeguarding of your samples, you can protect your biobank with ease. Speak to Withnell Sensors today for your 7-day free trial.