When to Use a Blood Centrifuge

The process of separating molecules of different densities is called centrifugation. This process is widely used in medical clinics, diagnostic facilities, and molecular biology laboratories.

In the medical field, centrifugation is carried out to harvest DNA, purify virus particles, gather cells, and separate differences between conforming molecules. Centrifugation is also done to separate different blood components.

A blood centrifuge is a machine that is used to separate blood through a process known as “blood fractionation.” The process is done by placing a specific amount of blood (for sampling and other purposes) in the blood centrifuge.

A blood centrifuge can collect the following components:

  • Erythrocytes – these are red blood cells that can be found at the bottom of the centrifuge tube.
  • A thin layer of leukocytes – this can appear as a buffy coat that consists of platelets and white blood cells. This can be found in the middle phase.
  • Blood plasma – this clear solution can be found in the upper phase and can be separated further into its own fractions.

Blood for centrifugation is placed in a serum separation tube with a silicone gel. After the centrifugation process, the gel will form a layer above the buffy coat. This makes it easy for the serum to be removed for testing and other purposes.

A blood centrifuge will run a specimen for 10 to 15 minutes at 1300-1800 xg. Centrifuge RPMs can differ depending on the rotor used and centrifuge build.

Centrifugation is considered successful when the gel is intact and the serum and the cells are totally separated in the tube. Redoing the centrifugation process is not recommended if the gel barrier is incomplete as this can affect the quality of the blood components, making them unusable.