Storage of biological samples in liquid nitrogen.
The use of ItemTracker is compulsory if you are storing material in the Blizard Institute Cryostore. It is also used for organizing and tracking samples stored in -80 freezers although this is optional except for items that fall under the Human Tissue Act. See below for details
All staff who wish to gain access to ItemTracker must have a substantive or honorary contract with Queen Mary University of London or must have signed a letter of confidentiality issued by the R&D office.
The storage of cells at temperatures below -130 ºC is the temperature at which biological activity ceases so storing at these temperatures is necessary to preserve the material unaltered. To eliminate the contamination risk associated with liquid nitrogen and to ensure there can be no cross contamination with the stored samples it is generally recommended that samples be stored in the vapour phase above the nitrogen (-180 to to -190ºC). The Institute has a managed vapour phase nitrogen cryogenic storage system for samples generated by research work in the building.
Cryogenic materials are very cold substances used in a wide variety of processes, including cooling probes and preserving biological samples. There are certain hazards associated with the use of cryogenic materials such as cold burns, explosion and asphyxiation. It is the aim of the Institute to ensure that all persons handling cryogenic materials are fully trained in their use and not exposed to danger in accordance with the relevant legislation and guidance in this code.
To use the Cryostore facility please contact Laboratory Management who will arrange for the necessary induction training and registration on the door entry system
The following sets out the Laboratory Managements guidance on the storage and handling of cryogenic materials, identifies the associated hazards and gives the basic safety precautions that must be adopted.
Laboratory Management will ensure that
• There is a training programme on the use and handling of cryogenics
• The necessary equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) is provided
• Safe storage facilities for cryogenic materials are provided and maintained
• There are written procedures for the use and handling of cryogenic materials
• There are written emergency protocols
• Sufficient resources are allocated to cover the above items.
• Training records are maintained for each individual.
Supervisors/Principal Investigators shall ensure that:
• Suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the use of cryogenic materials are conducted
• Appropriate PPE is worn when using the Cryo room
• An self-inspection programme covering the use and storage of cryogenic materials is implemented
Individual Users (All Staff and Students) shall ensure that:
• They take reasonable care of themselves and others affected by their actions
• Risk assessments are complied with
• They wear the PPE provided when handling cryogenic materials
• They follow instructions on handling cryogenic materials as described during training
What is it?
ItemTracker is a networked sample tracking and management solution for all of your samples wherever you store them. ItemTracker users range from small laboratories with one or two users storing a few hundred samples to much larger centres with many users storing thousands of samples.
ItemTracker automatically assigns a unique identifier to each sample and also provides traceability and the ability to demonstrate consent where applicable. Information about your sample is stored in the ItemTracker database.
Laboratory productivity is enhanced by the fast retrieval of complete sample information including location, properties and source. As well as being highly configurable, ItemTracker fully supports bar-coding, data import/export and other functionality leading to time savings by reducing the requirement for manual data entry.
ItemTracker is ideal for replacing hand written systems and labour intensive manual methods. It has been designed to help laboratories comply with regulations concerning the removal, storage and use of human tissue.
ItemTracker is only available on a Blizard Institute virtual private computer network
Who uses it?
Used primarily by researchers it is suitable for anyone wanting to track samples in the Institute's liquid nitrogen store or -80 freezers and is flexible enough to handle any number of different sample types.
The use of ItemTracker is compulsory if you are storing material in the Blizard Institute Cryostore. It is also used for organizing and tracking samples stored in -80 freezers although this is optional except for items that fall under the Human Tissue Act.
ItemTracker software for recording stored human biological research samples.
In order to comply with the standards of good practice relating to specimen tracking that have been issued by the Human Tissue Authority requires that all human tissue that:
- falls within definition of relevant material
- is stored* for the primary purpose of research
- is stored* on licensed premises
- must be logged on the secure, networked database - ItemTracker.
- *stored = kept for greater than 24 hours
Please remember, if you intend to keep the material for >24hrs, it must be registered in Item Tracker.
If you are using the material within 24hrs of collection Item Tracker is not needed but a similar level of information must still be recorded in your local records.
For more information go to