In a recent paper published in Biopreservation and Biobanking (12(3):165-175) Prof Allison Hubel writes on selecting the optimal storage temperature for the storage of human Bio specimens.
Together with Ralf Spindler and Amy Skubitz from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, she examines the scientific basis for selecting a storage temperature for a bio specimen based on current scientific understanding.
Millions of biological samples are currently kept at low temperatures in cryobanks / biorepositories for long-term storage. The quality of these bio specimens when thawed, however, are not only determined by their processing but very much by their storage conditions as well.
The article describes some of the physical basics of the temperature, nucleation, and ice crystal growth present in biological samples stored at low temperatures (−20°C to −196°C), and the current understanding of the role of temperature on the activity of degradative molecules present in biospecimens.
The scientific literature relevant to the stability of specific biomarkers in human fluid, cell, and tissue biospecimens is also summarised for the range of temperatures between −20°C to −196°C. These studies demonstrate the importance of storage temperature on the stability of critical biomarkers for fluid, cell, and tissue biospecimens.
Prof Hubel is the director of the Biopreservation Core Resource (BioCoR) unit based at the University of Minnesota. It aims to advance the practice of bio specimen preservation by developing specific biopreservation protocols, and improve preservation and storage technologies. Effective methods of processing, preservation, and storage are critical to research on and clinical use of bio specimens and the unit aims at providing a unique resource by serving to improve the quality of biospecimens available for biomedical research and clinical use. There are two workshop courses taking place shortly (May 2015) for people interested in learning about " Preservation of molecular, cellular and tissue biospecimens", http://biocor.umn.edu/education