Can disposable pipette tips contribute to pipetting error?

Keith Albert

Q: I need accuracy and precision. Will the disposable tips I choose for my automated liquid handlers possibly contribute error?

Because you are concerned with accuracy and precision, it should be noted that tip types are very important to the integrity of volume transfers. Vendor-approved tips, as opposed to the cheaper ‘bag of tips’ option, should always be employed to minimize volume transfer error and optimize liquid delivery. Tip performance has been found to be directly related to quality because tip material, shape, properties, fit, and conditioning are important factors for repeatability. Cheaper bulk tips may not be manufactured with the highest precision and may have variable characteristics that affect delivery, such as differences in upper diameter, virgin plastic content and presence of plastic residue inside the tip. These tips also might not fit well on the liquid handler. Without using approved tip types, accuracy and precision may be at risk.

About the Expert

Keith AlbertKeith Albert, PhD

Dr. Albert is Technical Marketing Manager at Artel and is responsible for automated liquid handling system performance research, customer education and assay/method validation services associated with Artel’s MVS and Liquid Handler Performance Verification Service. Dr. Albert applies his expertise and scientific knowledge to help laboratories optimize their liquid handling processes and maintain compliance.  Dr. Albert’s research includes the investigation of highly sensitive measurement systems and he has been published in scientific journals and presented papers on more than 20 occasions. He earned his BA in Chemistry at Colby College and his PhD in Analytical Chemistry at Tufts University.