Choosing the Right Cryovials and Caps for Successful Cell Cryopreservation


Select the right vial and cap for successful cell storage and preservation

You’ve invested your time, expertise, and budget in cultivating a viable cell culture. Now you’re ready to freeze it for future research. Cells are sensitive, and the freezing and thawing process can be harsh on them. With all the important considerations on your mind to save your cells, make sure to prioritize the choice of your cryovials and caps. They are the key to preserving the vitality and functionality of your cells. Cryovials may seem like simple containers, but they play a major role in maintaining the integrity of your cell culture during cryopreservation.

The correct choice of cryovial can make the difference between successfully reviving your cells for future experiments or facing irreversible damage and loss. So, consider these factors when choosing the appropriate vials and caps for your cell storage needs so your hard work doesn’t go to waste.

Key considerations for choosing cryovials and caps

Which is better, plastic or glass cryovials?

When selecting cryovials, the first consideration is the material they’re made of. The most common options are plastic and glass. Plastic cryovials are lightweight, cost-effective, and shatter-resistant, making them a popular choice for many researchers. Plastic cryovials are typically made of materials like polypropylene, which is resistant to low temperatures. Ensure the cryovial material is compatible with your sample type to prevent contamination or degradation.

Glass cryovials, on the other hand, are sturdy and provide superior protection against temperature fluctuations and gas permeation. Your choice will depend on your specific research needs and budget constraints.

Select the right cryovial capacity for your sample volume

The cryovial cap is just as important as the cryovial. An airtight seal prevents the ingress of moisture and gases that can compromise cell viability. Ensure that your cryovial caps have a secure, leak-proof seal to protect your cells from external contaminants. There are various cap options including screw caps, snap caps, and O-ring (or septum) caps. Screw caps provide a secure seal and are less likely to leak, making them ideal for long-term storage. Snap caps are easier to open and close but may not provide as tight a seal. An O-ring seal that is integrated into the cap to provide an airtight or watertight seal when the cap is screwed or crimped onto the vial.

Special cryovial features for enhanced cryopreservation

Some cryovials come with unique features designed to enhance your cryopreservation process. For instance, vials with threaded caps are easier to seal securely. Those with external threads reduce the risk of contamination. Additionally, consider vials with color-coded caps or writable surfaces provide efficient sample identification.

Sterilization is a must for preventing contamination

Use sterile cryovials to avoid contamination. Check if the cryovials are pre-sterilized or if they require autoclaving before use. Before filling your cryovials with cells, be sure to sterilize them to prevent contamination. Autoclaving or gamma irradiation are common methods for sterilizing labware. If using plastic vials, make sure they are sterile and come individually packaged.

Labeling vials is essential for identification

Proper labeling of cryovials with detailed information, such as cell type, passage number, and freezing date, helps you to maintain a well-organized cell bank. Choose cryovials with adequate labeling options. Proper labeling helps you identify the contents, date of storage, and any other relevant information. Some cryovials come with write-on labels or barcode-compatible surfaces.

Final thoughts for choosing cryovials for your lab

Whether you choose plastic or glass, consider capacity, seal quality, and any special features that may streamline your cryopreservation workflow, remember that proper sterilization and thorough labeling are non-negotiable steps in cryopreservation. By investing time and attention into the selection of the right labware, you are safeguarding your cell cultures and paving the way for viable cell cultures for future use.

Example of cryovials

Cole-Parmer® Essentials Cryogenic Vials

cryovialsThese cryogenic vials are manufactured in a ISO Class 7 cleanroom in accordance with FDA, GMP, and ISO quality standards. Sterilized by gamma irradiation, they are packaged in resealable bags of 50. They are also certified to be DNase, RNase, pyrogen, ATP and human DNA free.The vials are manufactured in a ISO Class 7 cleanroom in accordance with FDA, GMP, and ISO quality standards. Sterilized by gamma irradiation, they are packaged in resealable bags of 50. They are also certified to be DNase, RNase, pyrogen, ATP and human DNA free.


Learn more about cell cryopreservation and freezing

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