Puritan Flocked Swabs: HydraFlock® vs. PurFlock Ultra® - What's the Difference?

Posted on Dec 8, 2014 11:58:00 AM

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Why are flocked swabs more effective at collecting and eluting specimens than other swab types? It all comes down to the materials and construction. The type of fibers used, plus the swab's physical construction/manufacturing process, have an impact on results because it is the swab tip that comes in direct contact with the specimen to be collected. 

All Swabs Are Not Created Equal

Traditionally, compact fibers such as cotton, polyester, and rayon have been used to create swab tips. The fibers are compressed and shaped into the desired tip type.

These fibers still have many useful applications today. But it’s estimated that only 10%–15% of the organisms collected on traditional spun fiber swabs can be recovered from cultures. Why? Because the nature of spun fiber means entrapments of the specimen.

With particularly small samples, this could mean losing virtually all usable specimen, prohibiting subsequent sample analysis. The construction and shape of the swab are also important as these affect the amount of specimens recovered.

The ideal collection device must have the ability to absorb and release the sample and maintain the viability. This brings us to flocked swabs.

What are Flocked Swabs?

Due, in part, to the pandemic of novel influenza A (H1N1) and concerns about other known and future upper respiratory diseases, there has been a renewed focus on the development of accurate, reliable microbiological specimen collection devices.

A variety of flocked fibers, such as the traditional nylon or the more advanced polyester flock fibers may be used in the manufacturing of these specimen collection devices. Flocking refers to a process of applying short fibers called flock—cut from tow (a loose rope of thin continuous strands). The resulting flock is then dried, screened, and precisely placed around the tip of a molded handle which creates the swab's head shape and size. The resulting swab has a soft, velvet like tip.

What is the Benefit of Using Flocked Swabs?

Compared to the collection ability of cotton, polyester, rayon or nylon flocked swabs, Puritan's HydraFlock® and PurFlock Ultra® swabs allow a greater amount of specimen to be collected and remain on the surface of the fiber for complete elution in the transport medium. 

The complex “webbing” of the flock delivers a two-in-one punch. The flock fibers collect and maintain more specimen — and then releases it faster and more completely than traditional fiber swabs. This is especially important when you’re dealing with small or elusive specimen particles.

More comprehensive specimen collection. More complete elution. That’s the benefit of using Puritan's HydraFlock® and PurFlock Ultra® flocked swabs.

HydraFlock® Swabs

Designed specifically for the collection and release of biological specimens, HydraFlock® flocked swabs provide higher absorption capacity when compared to standard nylon flock swabs.  Superior results are achieved with minimal sample size.

The unique microstructure of Hydra’s multi-length "split-end" fibers are designed to enhance complete absorption and rapid elution of biological specimens. You can see the proprietary “floret” structure in the illustration below.

PurFlock Ultra® Swabs

Designed for use in molecular assay and rapid diagnostic testing. PurFlock Ultra® is the choice in flock swabs when standard nylon flock swabs don't provide the level of collection and release properties you desire.

Higher purity and cell release characteristics makes PurFlock Ultra® flocked swabs an ideal choice for various rapid diagnostic tests.

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Why Puritan Flocked Swabs? 

Puritan is the only flock swab manufacturer which holds patents for our HydraFlock® and PurFlock Ultra® collection devices. We’re not the only ones to offer flocked swabs, but we’re the only company with a patented specimen collection manufacturing process. Our proprietary manufacturing process offers swabs with multi-length flock fibers providing you with the most efficient collection and elution on the market.

We’re known in the global diagnostic market for consistent quality, repeatable results, and dependable availability. 

As always, Puritan responds to market needs with the highest quality products delivered on time. We use the finest fiber to achieve optimum sampling. Our multi-length flock fibers are fully integrated with the shaft. We eliminate the use of excessive adhesive or fiber treatments that can interfere with collection, ensuring flawless specimen purity.  Various tip shapes and sizes enhance the collection flexibility with improved patient comfort. 

Puritan offers both standard and customizable handle configurations. Pre-molded breakpoints are available with Puritan’s state-of-the-art scoring, with printed indicator marks that easily show your breakpoint options for a variety of vial sizes.

Always remember, Puritan has available the latest products to help you do your job. Custom orders are always welcome.

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Topics: Flocked Swabs, Diagnostic

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