The Importance of Reagent Grades in the Laboratory

Many chemicals and reagents are essential in the production and testing of medical products, medical devices, Biologics, cells and tissue-based substances, and other health care-related products. Because of their wide variety of uses and applications, chemicals can be expensive to purchase or may not be accessible to some researchers and technicians. In addition, without the proper chemicals, processes cannot be completed as properly or efficiently. For example, standard, laboratory reagents for protein assays, chromatography, and electrophoresis require specific chemicals that are compatible with the processes they are used in.

There are a number of chemical agents that are vital in the performance of various scientific processes. However, purchasing these chemicals and reagents from reputable suppliers can be extremely expensive. Because of this, several companies have developed alternatives to standard laboratory reagents. These alternatives include low cost reagents and chemicals, solvents, in-line electronic chemists, and hybrid solid media chemicals.

Low cost reagents and chemicals are generally those that can be purchased in bulk quantities at relatively low prices. These types of reagents are manufactured to deliver similar performance specifications to those of standard, professional grade chemicals. In most cases, these chemicals do not possess the same purity of formulations as standard chemicals. For example, one may find standard chemicals that are more highly purified than reagents that are more diluted, but which do not contain the same purity of vitamins and other nutrients and carriers.

Solvents that are meant for dilution are often used as substitutes for chemicals that cannot be purchased in bulk quantities. Specifically, these solvents are utilized to dilute chemicals prior to testing or experimentation. However, in labeling and packaging applications, the concentration of the chemicals is often higher than that of the dilution solutions, especially when chemicals intended for inhalation are involved. Chemicals intended for medical use must also be diluted before use.

Solvents intended for medical use, commonly referred to as antimicrobials, are commonly diluted with reagent grade chemicals. The diluted solution is used as part of the test methods and in diagnosing infections. The testing for these reagent grade chemicals is performed on culture plates containing known inflationary agents and the results are read and interpreted. This testing is conducted using various test methods including gel electrophoresis, immunofluorescence, capillary permeability, direct immunofluorescence, lymph assays, and blood tests. This testing is typically performed on humans and animals for the purpose of determining the antigens that are associated with diseases.

Chemical purity standards vary based upon the type of chemical being evaluated as well as on the intended use for the testing. Additionally, different levels of impurities are assigned to various grades of chemicals depending upon their stability. Some chemicals undergo more stringent quality control processes than do others. There are four impurities grades, which are listed in order of their importance for every type of chemical.

Solvents are assigned a lower grade than chemicals as they are less likely to dissolve in solution. Solvents are generally required to undergo further processing and additional purification. However, chemicals will always remain suspended in aqueous solutions for the purposes of use in reagent grade chemicals. Aqueous solutions will always contain at least one molecule of each substance being tested so that the exact ratio of solutes will always be present.

Chemical purity standards are based on the ability of the reagent to remove contaminants from solutions without changing the basic chemical structure of the substances. Other important factors that affect the laboratory reagents effectiveness include solubility, pH, volatility, buffering capacity, adsorption, and the physical and/or chemical properties of the substances. Many laboratory reagents have been specifically designed for a particular purpose, thus there are specific grades of chemicals for specific purposes. If a certain chemical is needed for the conduct of a specific procedure in a lab then it will always be tested before being placed in any other reagent. Other types of chemicals may be used interchangeably with each other but are not tested under stringent conditions. In this case reagent grades are simply a way to inform users of the composition of the chemicals.

City Chemical is a producer of chemicals and some of them are: 1,4-Naphthoquinone, 130-15-4, Triolein, 122-32-7, Antimony Trioxide, 1309-64-4, Silver Nitrate, 7761-88-8, Aluminum Fluoride, 7784-18-1, Ammonium Iodide, 12027-06-4, Cupric Oxide, 1317-38-0, Humic Acid, 1415-93-6, Triethylsilane, 617-86-7, Zinc Chromate, 13530-65-9.

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