Most commonly used for bacterial typing and diagnosis, the MALDI-TOF Mass Spectrometry (MS) method helps laboratory techs identify bacteria species quickly and efficiently.For decades, lab techs have used reusable instruments like metal or plastic inoculation loops (also known as inoculation wands, smear loops, and microstreakers) for harvesting and transferring bacterial colonies for MALDI-TOF analysis.
Inoculating Loops for MALDI-TOF
But this process can be time-consuming, and if mistakes are made, the integrity of your samples could be damaged. That’s because inoculation loops must be thoroughly sterilized (autoclaved) using a micro incinerator or bunsen burner for at least 5-10 seconds between every streak or sample. Working this way also means introducing an open flame into your otherwise still air environment.
Once you’ve sterilized your inoculation loop, you’ll then need to cool the instrument in sterile agar or sterilized water for at least 15 seconds before your next transfer, otherwise you'll risk killing the bacteria with the heat.
When you’re working in a clinical environment, processing dozens of samples a day, those 25+ seconds between samples can add up fast. Plus, working through this process over and over again with reused instruments compounds the potential for human error and contamination.
One industry solution is the disposable plastic innoculating loop. These loops are more appropriate for situations where flaming is not practical, and can certainly save on sterilization time. The problem? With convenience can sometimes come cost. The disposable plastic inoculating loops may be handy, but they're usually quite expensive.
Disposable Applicator Sticks for MALDI-TOF
That’s why many lab techs prefer to use disposable tools like toothpicks. Where on earth do you find sterile toothpicks for labs? And at an affordable price? Puritan has kept current on this endeavor in microbiology evolves and now offers new pointed applicator sticks, designed especially for MALDI-TOF analysis, continue to rise in popularity.
Puritan 25-28107 is a sterile multi pack of 25 3” wooden applicator sticks that are blunt on one end and finely pointed on the other. With a fresh sterile pack on hand, there's no need to autoclave before transferring a colony for direct assay by mass spectrometry or to streak a plate.
If you'd like to learn more about our disposable applicator sticks for MALDI-TOF, contact a sales representative today!