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Cyto centrifuge guide. Choosing the right cyto centrifuge for your needs

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Alex Henderson

Aston Business School graduate who has been the Managing Director of Henderson Biomedical since January 2015. Passionate about helping laboratories keep their vital equipment operational and compliant. Architecture enthusiast, fitness fanatic and dog lover!

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A cyto centrifuge is a specific type of centrifuge used to spin slides in specially designed cyto chambers used in cytology laboratories. There are several different options for the lab user to choose if they want to spin cyto chambers. In this month’s blog, we take a closer look at three of the best in the market: The Epredia Cytospin 4, manufactured by Thermo, Hettich centrifuges fitted with a special cyto rotor and the Sigma 2-7 Cyto.

An introduction to cyto centrifuges

Usually a cyto centrifuge will only need to reach a low speed of around 2000 x g for approximately 5 minutes at ambient temperature.  You do not need a special centrifuge in order to reach these speeds or temperatures, but you will need a special rotor that can accommodate the cyto chambers.

Most users will be spinning the plastic cyto chambers with built-in filter card (see System 1 in the image below). The actual cyto chamber can be disposable or re-usable. These are then placed inside a metal clip and that in turn is placed inside a swing-out rotor. The rotor is usually equipped with a biocontainment lid.

Common cyto centrifuge systems

There are also different designed cyto chambers that need to be housed in a different rotor. System 2 and System 3 in the above image shows this in more detail. Most users will opt for System 1, but some users will assemble their cyto insert in a different way.

Epredia Cytospin 4

The popular Cytospin 4 centrifuge

Most lab users will think of a Cytospin 4 when looking to spin cyto slides. Over the years this cyto centrifuge has become the industry benchmark. Originally badged as a Thermo Shandon product and now sold under Thermo’s Epredia brand, the Cytospin 4 has been the go-to choice for cytology laboratories around the world for over 40 years. This is due to a registered patent, which meant in the early days, it was the only cyto centrifuge you could buy. This exclusive patent has now since expired and so other choices of cyto centrifuge are available.

Many users will prefer the Cytospin 4 because it is what they are used to. Indeed, laboratory personnel may already know how it works and so there is no need for additional user training. Furthermore, if you already have a Cytospin 4, you may be able to use your existing rotor in your new instrument. This is a good way of keeping costs down. However, today there are other options available which can give the user increased flexibility.

Hettich centrifuge with cyto rotor

Hettich Universal 320 centrifuge
The Hettich Universal 320 centrifuge

Hettich manufacture three types of cyto rotors which can spin different designs of cyto chamber. These rotors can be used in one of ten different Hettich models. This includes, but is not limited to, the popular Rotofix 32A and Universal 320R.

The main advantage of using a Hettich centrifuge with a special cyto rotor is that you can also use the same centrifuge for spinning other containers, not just cyto chambers. It is also worth mentioning that the Hettich cyto rotor has a TÜV certified bioseal rotor lid. This provides extra peace-of-mind when spinning pathogenic samples.

For example, the Hettich Universal 320R can be fitted with a cyto rotor for spinning cyto chambers. However, it can also be fitted with a different rotor and bucket configuration. This allows the user to also spin tubes, bottles and even microplates in either fixed angle or swing-out rotor.  In addition to this, the Universal 320 is refrigerated. This gives you the added flexibility of being able to spin temperature sensitive samples.

Sigma 2-7 Cyto centrifuge

Sigma 2-7 Cyto centrifuge
The Sigma 2-7 Cyto centrifuge

Like Hettich, Sigma also offer the user the ability to equip one of their standard centrifuges with a special cyto rotor. Unfortunately, Sigma only offer the 2-7 centrifuge with a cyto rotor. In contrast, Hettich have ten different models that can be fitted with a cyto rotor. This increases the flexibility for the user considerably. Furthermore, the Sigma 2-7 Cyto can only be equipped with one type of cyto rotor. This is the most popular cyto chamber, filter card and clip configuration (see System 1 in above image).

However, the Sigma 2-7 Cyto is a compact, easy-to-use cyto centrifuge. It can also spin a variety of different size tubes. This includes the 7ml Vacutainer blood collection tube, the 15ml conical ‘Falcon’ tube and 25ml ‘Universal’ tube. This makes it a good choice for most laboratories who want to spin other types of containers in addition to the cyto slides.

How Henderson Biomedical can help

Henderson Biomedical have been supplying centrifuges, including cyto centrifuges to laboratories across the UK since 1987. Our team can give you sound advice on the different options available. For more information on how we can help you, please give us a call on 020 8663 4610 or alternatively use the online contact form and a member of the team will get back to you.

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