Before shipment of samples several factors have to be considered to achieve optimal sample conditions, and to avoid sample thawing or loss during transportation.
Aliqoting and sample mixing
When sample for transportation and analysis is taken from a source vial, great care must be taken to ensure proper mixing of the content before pipetting. During freezing and thawing, gradients of serum/plasma components, in particular of albumin, are formed. Simple vortexing, in particular if the vial is full, may not be sufficient to generate a homogeneous solution. Therefore, repeated tilting of the vial with a small air bubble is recommended. Avoid foaming. Pipetting from vials that have solute gradients will affect analyte concentration to a variable extent. Albumin-bound biomarkers, like total homocysteine and total cysteine, are most seriously affected (up to 20 % difference).
Packing and organization
The samples must be placed in sufficient dry ice to keep them frozen for 4 – 5 days. Thus, a box with 6 – 800 samples should contain about 10 kg of dry ice. The samples should be placed in 1-2 mL vials with a screw cap, and clearly labelled with serial numbers, printed (not hand-written) on a label, which tolerates freezing. They must be placed and immobilized in boxes accommodating 100 vials, and sorted in a sequence which matches an accompanying excel data sheet with serial number and additional unequivocal identification. This excel file must be send to us by e-mail the day the parcel is dispatched.
The samples are analyzed in the order provided on the excel sheet and according to the organization of the vials in the boxes used for transportation. If you have special requirements for the sequence of the analyses (paired cases and controls, randomization, longitudinal sampling, etc…), you have to organize your samples accordingly. Please contact us if you have questions concerning sample sequence organization.
On a separate page, please also provide information on:
– the title of the project,
– matrix (plasma or serum)
– storage (duration and temperature)
– freezing and thawing cycles (number)
– sample volume (µL)
– number of samples
– vitamins and metabolites to be measured (platforms A-I)
The parcel must be marked with VALUE = 10 (USD or EURO), to avoid custom delay and extra cost.
Samples should be transported by a competent courier on dry ice.
For US and other overseas shipments we recommend WORLD COURIER, which allows dry ice and guarantees refilling of dry ice if required. The company has local representatives in Norway, takes care of all paperwork and thereby avoids that the parcel is stuck in the customs office. WORLD COURIER is expensive, e.g. transportation of 1 item of 10 kg to/from USA costs about 1500€; 3 items about 2000 €.
We have also used QUICK International for overseas shipment.
For shipment within Europe we have used DHL, which after agreement allows dry ice, but does not refill ice; it is quick and not expensive. The company has local representative in Bergen.
FedEx should be avoided. The company does not transport with dry ice within Norway, and the shipment stops in Oslo.
The parcel should preferably be dispatched on a Monday, to avoid over weekend delay. At the day of transportation please notify Randi Mjelde Heimdal (firstname.lastname@example.org) or email@example.com about the day of shipment and AIR WAY BILL NUMBER. It is also recommended that you track your shipment during transportation, and notify us if samples are delayed.
Parcel must be sent to:
Randi Mjelde Heimdal
BEVITAL, Laboratoriebygget, 9 etg
Jonas Lies veg 87
5021 Bergen, NORWAY