Suppliers of Handling, Storage and Transport Equipment for Liquid Nitrogen

The prefix “cryo-” is derived from the Greek word “kruo”, meaning “cold” and was probably first introduced into everyday speech by the writers of popular science fiction with their references to cryo-sleep – a form of induced hibernation used by their fictional heroes to survive their journeys between the stars lasting many years.

Today, it is applied in numerous contexts. Medical usage includes terms such as cryotherapy – the use of low temperatures to aid recovery from injury, and cryolipolysis – a non-invasive alternative to surgical liposuction. One term that is becoming increasingly more important on the medical scene is cryopreservation. This involves the use of liquid nitrogen and equipment from specialised suppliers as a method for the long-term preservation of various types of biological material.

Although not exclusively, the lion’s share of the demand for cryopreservation probably stems from two relatively new disciplines within the field of medicine. These are transplantation and assisted human reproduction. In each case, it is imperative that the various tissues are stored in a manner that guarantees to preserve all of their cellular and functional integrity in order that they will continue to remain suitable for their intended use, even after lengthy periods of freezing.

In order to operate this type of facility, the staff will be required to identify and contract the appropriate suppliers to provide both the liquid nitrogen and the specialised equipment needed for its safe handling. In addition, they will also need to acquire a stock of the sealable and insulated vessels used for the safe storage and transport of the various preserved tissues. Other necessary inventory items are likely to include the specialised sampling tools used for the collection of biological material under aseptic conditions.

Although their attempts at freezing whole human organs for transplant purposes continue to pose problems, researchers now seem confident that these can be solved. In the interim, the cryopreservation of tissue for transplant purposes remains limited to bone marrow and stem cells, as well as the embryos and gametes uses in assisted reproduction. Nevertheless, even to preserve such tiny samples requires suppliers to provide liquid nitrogen equipment that is able to provide reproducible and precisely controlled freezing rates as well as even temperature distribution.

For items such as programmable, controlled-rate freezers, liquid N2 storage vessels and other related cryogenic accessories, the UK-based manufacturer Planer has, for many years, been widely acknowledged as a world leader in the field. To complement these, the high-security straws and vessels that are used for the collection, storage, sealing and labelling of serum and cellular elements such as live cultures of bacteria and viruses, embryos and gametes are the speciality of another world leader in cryobiology, the French manufacturer appropriately named Cryo Biosystem.

In South Africa, both of these leading brands are represented by IEPSA, acknowledged as the leading local suppliers of diagnostic test kits for medical and veterinary use, and quality control systems for the pharmaceutical and the food and beverage industries. We are experts in the setup, use and maintenance of liquid nitrogen equipment from both Planer and Cryo Biosystem, and with more than 35 years of experience in understanding and meeting the analytical needs of practitioners, researchers and manufacturers, IEPSA is uniquely positioned to offer all the guidance and support you require.

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