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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Micropipette Magic

Do you need to measure a small amount of water, blood or other mysterious liquid?

Micropipettes, used to transfer amounts of liquid under 1 mL, are one of the most common tools used in laboratories to do so. For the purpose of obtaining accurate and precise data, knowing how to properly use a micropipette is essential. 

The adjustable micropipette is actually a Wisconsin invention! While it was developed by several people, one of its primary inventors was the late Henry Lardy, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Be sure to thank Lardy the next time you take advantage of his handy gadget. 

Common micropipette sizes are 20, 100, and 1,000 microliters (commonly notated as µl), each size able to hold a minimum of 1/10 of their respective marked volume. After selecting the appropriate size, turn the knob of the micropipette to adjust the volume to the specific amount needed. Firmly press and insert the end of the micropipette into a tip. Then, press down on the plunger until you feel resistance, referred to as the “first stop" of the micropipette. 

With your pipette now ready for use, insert the tip just below the surface of the liquid. As you slowly release pressure on the plunger, liquid will fill the micropipette up to your designated volume. To dispense of the liquid, press down until the “first stop” of resistance is felt. Pause for several seconds before continuing to press and release the liquid until empty. 

Having now completed the transfer, press the button next to the plunger to discard the tip

Happy pipetting!

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