From Your Virtual Librarian: Errors in Pipetting

After nearly a week in Arlington, I had the chance to learn what a lab should do, and how to utilize those skills in trial. Serious Science: Drug Specimen Analysis gave me the tools to show where the government technicians make their mistakes, and why it makes a difference.


One area which leads to most mistakes is in sample preparation. When the technician removes the sample to prepare it to go into the machine, there are numerous steps that must be done correctly. If the steps are not performed correctly, then the results are not reliable. And when the results are not reliable, they should be rejected.


One crucial step is in the pipetting of the samples. A pipette is like a turkey baster which is used to draw fluids out of the containers submitted to the lab and transferred to vials for testing. Put the wrong fluid in the container, or the wrong amount, and the test could be incorrectly identified or improperly elevated.


In our library, we have a simple chart presenting a number of steps to improve your pipetting. You can find it here:


10 Tips to improve your pipetting technique


How you pipette does matter. If you do it wrong, your results are wrong. Not defendable, but just plain garbage. So, next time you have a case where pipetting occurs, log into the library and see whether they did it right.