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Essentials for setting up a laboratory
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Essentials for setting up a science laboratory

Setting up a laboratory is certainly not a small task. There are a lot of conditions and requirements to follow before a lab can start work. These would include the layout of the laboratory which would have to agree with the building plans yet provide optimal efficiency, as well as several guidelines which allow the safety of the lab personnel working. Furthermore, there is understandably a lot of paperwork in the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the lab, permits and authorizations etc. One must not forget the basic necessities for a laboratory such as water, gas and electric supply, and if necessary, back-up generators, phone lines and an internet connection could help researchers significantly. It is also important to generate a list of all the laboratory equipment required, which would be influenced by the kind of work carried out.

 

Example of a Laboratory
Example of a Laboratory

 

Various types of lab equipment are designed for the convenience of researchers, such as vortex machines, magnetic stirrers, shakers, hot plates, pipettors etc

Laboratory furniture is a basic essential for holding equipment, reagents, and manuals among other items. Furniture includes more than chairs and stools which are required for the comfort of the lab personnel. Laboratory benches are crucial in any lab as these long tables form the working platform for conducting various experiments. Cabinets are also required for the storage of reagent bottles, manuals, books, small equipment and other products. Equipment furniture may also be required such laminar flow hoods, fume hoods and microbalance enclosures. Fire safety cabinets are recommended to store flammable liquids inside labs.

 

The next important category of products includes the equipment required for carrying out various experiments. This involves simple apparatus such as microscopes, pipettes, weighing balances, centrifuges to more sophisticated machinery such as PCR thermocyclers, chromatography equipment, sonicators, electrophoresis kits etc. Molecular biology and cell culture laboratories would require specialized equipment such as CO2 incubators, microarray scanners, microtiter plates, deep freezers, etc. Various types of lab equipment are designed for the convenience of researchers, such as vortex machines, magnetic stirrers, shakers, hot plates, pipettors etc.

 

Floor plan of a laboratory
Floor plan of a laboratory

 

Laboratory reagents are essentials which are at the centre of lab work. These include basic chemical reagents to carry out various reactions, test protocols and other work. Apart from chemicals, there are antibodies, microbial cultures, nucleic acid solutions, and proteins etc. which are also required in modern biology laboratories. Many of these are conveniently bundled together in packs, such as ELISA kits. Microbiological media are necessary formulations required for microbiology and molecular biology protocols.

 

General supplies are necessary laboratory equipment required to carry out various procedures and are present in every laboratory. These include simpler items such as test tubes, beakers and other glassware, racks, gloves, Petri plates, reagent bottles, containers and storage box. Specialized supplies are also required in certain conditions such as syringe filters for chromatography apparatus, accessories for equipment like magnetic stir bars, parafilm for sealing labware etc.

 

While these products listed above act as suggestions since the actual laboratory equipment required will vary based on the work to be performed, these items still indicate the basic inventory required for starting a new laboratory. Furthermore, while designing a laboratory based on present research or work is an obvious idea, it is much advised that free workspace be left for the addition of unforeseen equipment or renovations in the future.

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