Storage of samples in the Biorepository

By Absolomon Kihara

Table of Contents

Storage of samples in the Biorepository

Overview

Sample Ownership

Open Access

Closed Access

Transfer of sample ownership to the Biorepository

Costs of storing samples in the Biorepository

Factors to consider while collecting or arranging biological samples which will later be stored in the Biorepository:

Overview

The primary mandate of the Biorepository is to offer long term storage platform for biological materials being collected by different projects. The Biorepository has acquired enough liquid nitrogen (LN2) Freezers which are used to store biological samples. In addition it has acquired a liquid nitrogen (LN2) extraction plant with a capacity of generating 21 liters of LN2 per hour. This alongside the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), which is maintained in the unit that tracks all the samples stored in the system, makes the Azizi Biorepository and ideal location to store biological samples.

Sample Ownership

The Biorepository maintains the samples on behalf of the institute. Any use of the institute samples is regulated by the institute research management committee (IRMC) which evaluates any requests for samples.

In addition to the institute’s samples, there are other samples owned by different ongoing projects and their use is regulated by the projects’ management committees.

Open Access

The Biorepository maintains all the institute’s samples on an open access policy. This means that all the samples in the Biorepository which belongs to the institute and are maintained by the institute can be used by anyone (outsiders included) subject to IRMC approval and all their metadata is publicly accessible from the Biorepository home page, http://azizi.ilri.org/. The samples metadata includes results which have been incorporated into the samples. These samples have an accompanying material transfer agreement (MTA), which regulates the future use of the samples and the associated data.

Closed Access

The samples belonging to the different projects are owned by their respective projects and the projects bear the costs of maintaining the samples. The samples and their respective metadata are NOT publicly accessible and are held as closed access unless when the project’s management committee decides to specifically open access to the samples and the metadata.

Transfer of sample ownership to the Biorepository

Once a project ends or in the middle of a project, the project’s management committee may decide to transfer the ownership of the samples and the accompanying data to ILRI and effectively to the Biorepository. The institute assumes the ownership of the samples and start bearing the cost of maintaining the samples. This transfer is accompanied by a material transfer agreement (MTA) which regulates any future use of the samples. The MTA becomes part of the sample’s metadata and is shared whenever the sample metadata is accessed or the sample is shared out.

Costs of storing samples in the Biorepository

The Azizi Biorepository operates of a full cost recovery basis, meaning that it must cover all operational costs and staff related costs. As of 2015, we charge USD 34 per box per year.

Factors to consider while collecting or arranging biological samples which will later be stored in the Biorepository:

  1. All samples are unique and differ from each other. Aliquots from the same parent sample are different from their parent and they are different from each other.
  2. Extracted material or samples (eg. DNA, RNA, Libraries, etc) are different from the samples that they were extracted from.
  3. All samples should be in cryo vials which can withstand liquid nitrogen temperatures of -196 degrees celcius. Eppendorf tubes cannot withstand these temperatures and are unsuitable for storage in liquid nitrogen.
  4. The Biorepository recommends the use of 1.8ml outer threaded self standing cryo vials which can fit in a 10x10 cryo box.
  5. All samples should have a unique identifier, preferably a barcode on a label which can withstand ultra low temperatures of liquid nitrogen (-196 degrees celcius).
  6. All samples should be stored in boxes which are uniquely labeled and can fit in the liquid nitrogen (LN2) Tanks system.
  7. Paper boxes are highly discouraged and not accepted in the Biorepository system.
  8. The ideal boxes for use in the system are made of extra strong polycarbonate measuring 133x133x52mm.
  9. The Biorepository recommends the use of 10x10 boxes and cryo vials which can fit these boxes. The use of 9x9 boxes is still allowed but it is frowned upon since it loses 19% of sample holding capacity.
  10. All the samples must be properly catalogued and documented. They should contain enough information for them to be useful in future research. The minimum information for a sample MUST include; Organism, Sample Type, Origin and GPS coordinates of where the sample was collected, Date of collection, Sex of the organism, Project and Owner of the sample. This is in addition to the location details of where the sample is located, ie. The box name and the sample position in box. Please see a template of sample information.