"In Plastico" Research: Who Provides the Best Labware?

By Stephen Vizcarra

August 15, 2018 -- In times of remarkable technological advances, we often overlook the products our lab depends upon, plasticware. As scientists, we recognize the versatility plastics offer us in terms of strength, flexibility, safety, and convenience when compared to our once exclusively glass products. Some researchers now suggest the term “in plastico” be added to the life scientist’s lexicon since an increasing amount of research is no longer performed “in vitro”.

We at The Science Advisory Board surveyed our members about their preferred plasticware suppliers in order to provide insight to peers. Several large suppliers include Corning, Eppendorf, Greiner, Sarstedt, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and VWR. Supplier’s work to differentiate themselves in terms of quality that can be defined as physical strength, autoclavibility, heat resistance, reduced leachates and improved transparency. Plastics are offered in multiple product sizes and coatings and are made accessible through multiple distribution channels.

We found that 57% of our respondent’s primary focus is in basic research, followed by 13% in drug development and drug screening. 1,000 of our members shared one word that comes to mind when thinking about their primary supplier and the results of this study are astounding.

Ultimately, the scientific community recognizes Corning as a supplier that provides reliable, quality, and consistent plasticware products. Similarly, Nunc Plasticware is praised for its reliable and quality products, particularly for cell culture. Thermo Fisher Scientific, a supplier of high-end products has an economy brand, Fisherbrand, with value options that are reliable and easily available for purchase. In the case of Eppendorf, scientists associate this brand with products like pipettes and test tubes.

When offered the choice between identical plasticware products, most scientists will select the brand they have had previous successes with. It is clear that our scientists are loyal to the plasticware brand that is tried and true in their research.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on plasticware. What is your field of research? What plasticware brand do you use most?

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