How Choosing the Right Materials Can Prevent DNA Specimen Degradation
Whether for genetic testing or another application, preserving DNA integrity through all steps of the handling process is essential to avoiding potential errors, which can be costly and time-intensive to correct. The most effective way to proactively avoid DNA specimen degradation is selecting the right tools for your needs.
There are a few types of media transport systems available, but before you can determine the best option for your needs, it may be helpful to consider the following questions:
Are you going to prepare the DNA for examination immediately after collecting it?
Will the specimen be stored for use in the future, and if so, for how long?
Do you expect to ship the DNA specimen to an offsite processing lab? If so, what is the anticipated time frame between collection and examination?
Most importantly, the main objective is to minimize the amount of degradation that your DNA specimen undergoes. The more time between collection and processing that passes, the more measures you’ll need to put in place to preserve the sample. Additionally, moisture is another degrading factor, so preventing increased moisture levels is essential.
Bearing these factors in mind, here are some products you should consider n your DNA transport system:
Swabs are the first tool used in the specimen collection process, and they play an important role in maintaining the integrity of your samples. As such, it’s important to select the right type of swab to keep DNA protected. It’s best to select a sterile dry swab, because again, keeping moisture at bay is important for safeguarding your samples.
If you’re transporting the specimen and don’t plan to use a preservative solution, it’s ideal to allow the swab to air-dry before preparing it for shipment. As long as the environment is kept at a suitable temperature and humidity level, 30 minutes of drying time should suffice.
Depending on your application, you may also wish to consider a cap to prevent DNA contamination. Puritan offers many swabs with the the cap built in. These swabs are called Cap-Shure® and feature an aerated tip protector over the swab tip to help the drying process and protect the specimen.
Dry Transport Tubes
Another option for keeping your swabs protected against cross-contamination is using plastic transport tubes. The swab attaches to a cap and is inserted into a tube, much like a test-tube. A label affixed to the outside of the tube allows for data to be written about the specimen collected. Dry Transport Swabs include their own transport tubes for safe travel and are available with different tip materials such as calcium alginate, cotton, flocked, foam, polyester, and rayon.
Whichever option you select, Harmony Business Supplies has all of the right products to help you handle and transport DNA specimens as efficiently as possible. You can view their vast array of options online now, or get in touch with a product specialist for more information.
Proper gun cleaning is critical to keeping firearms in the best possible working condition. Cleaning guns after each use preserves their safety and durability by removing residue buildup. Something as seemingly insignificant as powder residue can impact the accuracy of a firearm, which you certainly don’t want to gamble with whether you’re at the range or in a combat zone.
Another downside of failing to properly clean your gun is that it will be more prone to rusting and similar forms of permanent degradation. You might not think it’s necessary to clean your gun after firing just a few rounds through it, but even the salt from your palms can damage your weapon! Since most guns are considerable investments, keeping them well-maintained is necessary for preserving their value.
The Better Way To Clean
One of the best ways to keep your gun free of dirt and debris is to clean it using the best possible tools. While each firearm collector likely has their favorite go-to cleaning kit, it’s a good idea to consider upgrading your supplies every now and then. This is especially true if you’ve been hitting the range more often recently!
A small – but mighty – tool to consider adding to your kit is a pack of gun cleaning swabs. The nooks and crannies of your weapons can be difficult to clean with traditional brushes and cloths, which is why foam and cotton-tipped applicators can come in handy. Tight spaces like the bore of the barrel need to be cleaned, but only a small swab will be able to get in there and completely rid the area of buildup.
Each gun has its own small space which can benefit from a thorough cleaning using an applicator and the solvent of your choice. With semi-automatic weapons, for instance, the areas beneath the ejector, contact points between the frame and slide, and the slide’s interior grooves can all attract residue. Revolvers can accumulate debris in the forcing cone, cylinder ratchet, and along the face of the cylinder.
Gun Cleaning Swabs Make Cleaning Easy
If you own multiple types of firearms, having different sizes and types of swabs on hand can be useful. For instance, Puritan makes low-lint swab 6” cotton applicators, which are ideal for cleaning most types of guns. If you have weapons of larger calibers and longer barrels, however, you may need longer applicators, such as the 8” shaft swab. Some gun owners also prefer anti-shedding, lint-free, foam-tipped swabs.
But don’t just take our word for it: even the U.S. military agrees that foam and cotton swabs are the best tools for effective firearm cleaning. Swabs are utilized by servicemen and women to ensure the utmost level of cleanliness, functionality, and safety of their firearms. Both active duty and veteran shooters know the importance of having a clean gun, which is why they turn to these powerful little products whenever it’s time to clean their weapons.
If you’re a firearms owner and would like to purchase some gun cleaning swabs to include in your gun cleaning kit, visit Harmony Business Supplies online to browse through your options. You can also speak with a product specialist to find out which gun cleaning swabs are the right fit for your needs.
Learn all you need to know about swab handles in the next 6 minutes!
So… What Are the Different Types of Swab Shafts?
From collecting a throat culture to cleaning a wound, swabs have countless applications in the medical field. They’re also used to collect DNA and perform microbiological tests, by hobbyists painting china plates or other highly detailed work, for cleaning guns, and to rid print heads on wide format printers of unwanted residue.
Swabs and applicators are among the most versatile products used across a variety of industries.
Yet, when swabs and applicators come to mind, most people only think of one type. In fact, there are dozens of different options available, for the very reason that there are so many distinct purposes for these handy tools.
In addition to choosing the size of the applicator as well as the tip material, you can also select the material for the shaft based on the most appropriate fit for your unique needs.
Here, we’ll discuss the four main types of applicator and swab shafts, as well as the unique properties of each:
Paper Shaft Swabs
If you’ve ever had a lollipop, you can imagine what an applicator with a paper shaft might look and feel like.
They’re typically white in color and are smooth to the touch. You can choose your option for paper shaft applicators based on your application, taking into consideration the length and tip type you’ll need.
Paper is among the more basic materials available for swab shafts. With smaller tips, it can be used for cleaning sensitive components in critical environments, as the materials are anti-static.
Paper shaft applicators with larger tips can be used in some medical applications, such as gathering specimens during exams, or collecting cells to perform laboratory research. In general, paper shaft swabs are also ideal for cleaning hard-to-reach places throughout offices and other workplace environments.
Wood Shaft Swabs
Like paper, is also considered to be a “no-frills” option for shaft material in swabs and applicators. Most wood is sourced from birch trees, making them a sturdy and inflexible choice for industrial environments.
Some medical offices also select wood shaft applicators as materials for cleaning minor abrasions and similar practices.
Because it doesn’t take much force to fracture wood, this particular type of applicators is not recommended for applications in which there’s a risk of breakage.
Since these shafts are made of natural materials, there’s always a risk that they can introduce dust or contaminates into the environment. Thus, wood shaft swabs are not intended for use in cleanroom environments.
That being said, wood swab shafts are an excellent, budget-friendly choice for basic applications. There are sterile wood swabs that can be used in many medical applications.
There are some types of wood shaft swabs that do boast low particulates for cleaning sensitive components. Like the other types of shafts listed here, they are available in varying lengths and quantities, and they can also arrive pre-packaged to prevent the risk of contamination.
Plastic Shaft Swabs
Plastic shafts are a step above wood and paper for a number of reasons. First, they have non-porous properties and will also not produce dust or contaminates, making them ideal for sensitive environments. Additionally, they are more flexible than wood, and you can even break them cleanly if needed.
Because they are synthetic, plastic shaft applicators are ideal for collecting microbiological specimens. They are also widely used in hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s office for patient care purposes, such as wound dressing and cleaning. They also are a go-to choice for collecting cells for DNA testing.
While the most common type of plastic used in applicator shafts is polystyrene, some users prefer a different type of plastic: polypropylene. While it is also a synthetic material, it’s quite different from polystyrene because it is much more resistant to breaking.
In industrial settings, many companies choose to go with polypropylene due to its increased level of durability. Of course, users who simply want the peace of mind in knowing the applicator shaft won’t break can also use this option in other environments as well.
Metal/Wire Shaft Swabs
Lastly, we have the type of applicator shaft that’s perhaps the most unique of all: metal wire.
Wire shaft swabs are most commonly found in healthcare environments. The diameter of the shaft can be designed to be much smaller than that of wood, plastic, or paper. For situations in which a standard swab would be too large, the fine-diameter wire shaft swabs come in handy.
Aluminum is commonly used in swab shafts due to its malleability. In medical situations where cells must be collected from sensitive areas like the ear, nose, throat, or other sensitive areas, the flexible, small shafts are useful for ensuring patient comfort. Additionally, these applicators fit well into transport tubes to make examination and lab testing seamless and hassle-free.
Wire shafts are more flexible than other materials, so be sure to take that into consideration when choosing the right type for your needs. Additionally, they should not be used in any environments where conductivity might pose a risk.
What Swab Handle Do You Need?
With so many different options available, it can be challenging to know which type of applicator shaft is best for your needs.
To help you decide, we’ve come up with a brief list of questions that should help narrow down your choices:
In what type of industry or environment will you be using the swabs?
Is conductivity/ESD a concern?
Will you be collecting cells from a person? If so, from a potentially sensitive area?
Where will the specimens be sampled onsite or at a lab elsewhere?
Do you need to worry about dust or contaminates?
How durable do you need the applicators to be?
If you’re still overwhelmed with your choices, you can always start by visiting Harmony Business Supplies and searching for swabs based on your intended use.
You can choose among the following purposes: critical environments, fiber optic cleaning, forensics, gun cleaning, print head cleaning, sign machine cleaning, and crafts and hobbies.
A broad range of sterile swabs intended specifically for healthcare environments is also available. For convenience, many types of swabs can also be purchased in varying quantities.
No matter your unique needs, there’s a swab out there for you! Just visit Harmonycr.com to find the right swab for the job, or give one of our supply specialist a call and we’ll help you find the right swab for your needs.