Using your MicroCal Automated PEAQ-DSC in a BSL-2 laboratory

Are you studying viruses, toxins, infectious agents, pathogens or infectious organisms which pose a moderate hazard to humans or the environment? Are you using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) for characterization? 

If you answered YES, you likely have your instrument in a Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2) lab. This means your DSC needs to be safely decontaminated after use.

Are you studying viruses, toxins, infectious agents, pathogens or infectious organisms which pose a moderate hazard to humans or the environment? Are you using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) for characterization? If you answered YES, you likely have your instrument in a Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2) lab. This means your DSC needs to be safely decontaminated after use.

How do I get started?

You must ensure the Fast Wash 2 module is installed and calibrated by a service engineer before specifying this as a source location. If your system meets the minimum requirements described below, this will be done free of charge on your next scheduled service visit. If your system does not meet these requirements, you do not have a service contract, or you need this functionality immediately then please contact our helpdesk to arrange a visit from a service engineer. The visit will be charged at normal standard rates.

Minimum System Requirements

  • Intel Core i5 Processor, 8 GB RAM, 300 GB hard disk drive, 1366 x 768 screen resolution.
  • Supported operating systems
  • Windows 10

How to Use the New Features

The new protocols use a 2nd “fast wash” station to decontaminate the sample syringe and/or the DSC cells and valves. You will see two new protocols for cleaning: ”Decontaminate Syringe” after loading a sample and “Decontaminate System” for decontaminating the entire system (syringe and cells) at the end of a sequence.

Click the appropriate box (see Figures 1 & 2) and select the source of the reagent, contact time and rinse volume. The contact time is determined by the pathogen and your institutional policy. The rinse volume will depend on the decontamination reagent and needs to be experimentally determined. Default settings are appropriate for the solutions tested in our R&D labs. The syringe can be decontaminated after each load.

Figure 1 TN210517-Microcal-BSL-2.png

Figure 1. Description of the new Decontaminate Syringe option. Click box “Decontaminate Syringe”, then select decontamination source, contact time, and rinse volume, from the dropdown menus as shown.

Figure 2 TN210517-Microcal-BSL-2.png

Figure 2. Description of the new Decontaminate System option. Click box “Decontaminate System”, then select decontamination source, contact time, and rinse volume, from the dropdown menus as shown. Decontaminate System can be scheduled within a sequence, but it anticipates that most users will select this at the end of a sequence to maintain baseline repeatability in subsequent scans. 

Choosing either the “Decontaminate Syringe” or “Decontaminate System” option will enable you to choose a location from which to load the decontamination solution. You will also see that “Fast Wash 2” has been added as a possible position for the wash solvent source in the “Clean Settings”. Both traditional wash procedures and the newly added decontamination option can utilize Fast Wash 2. 

Figure 3 TN210517-Microcal-BSL-2.png

Figure 3. Description of new option for source of cleaning or decontamination solvent; Fast Wash 2. A user must ensure their Fast Wash 2 module is installed and calibrated by a service engineer before specifying this as a source location.

We have tested the MicroCal Automated PEAQ-DSC system with these decontamination reagents: 1 N NaOH, 10% bleach, Decon 90, Contrad 70, and Dismozon. If you want to use another decontamination reagent, we can provide you with a list of wetted materials in the system to check for compatibility. While we do not anticipate any issues, given the hazardous nature of the solutions, good laboratory practices suggest daily visual inspection to check all potential leak paths.

What if I Don’t need the Decontaminate feature?

If you want to implement the bug fixes addressed in this software release but do not need to decontaminate or do not want to use the Fast Wash 2 station, these new settings can be ignored.  There is no need to contact the Malvern Panalytical service team and this version can be downloaded at https://www.malvernpanalytical.com/en/support/product-support/microcal-range/microcal-dsc-range/microcal-peaq-dsc

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