Micropipette tips – the unsung heroes of mass spectrometry



Micropipette tip (tip) pipetting accuracy and precision are functions of tip manufacture consistency, morphological variation, and retained inner tip wall particulate matter. Irregular tip inner wall surfaces and retained particulate matter cause pipetting inaccuracy. Washed and unwashed tips from seven manufacturers were compared using weight by difference (six), microscopic Luxol Fast Blue staining (seven), and matrix-assisted laser desorption/onization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry (six). Photomicrographs revealed tip irregularity and inner wall retained particulate matter. Computer model analysis was used to identify tip irregularity and retained matter. These tests established the utility of a pipette solvent wash to increase the performance and the accuracy of tips and, thus, improve the MALDI mass spectra obtained. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.