One biobank requirement where additional cost is justifiable is secure sample tracking. Many samples in the freezers are individually labeled by hand either with a Sharpie® or a freezer label. Both of these, to a lessor or greater degree, are subject to failure of the labeling system. This issue has been addressed with the 2D 96-tube rack labeling system that provides a permanent 2D barcode on each tube. This format is space efficient and incredibly secure in its labeling as the barcodes are an integral part of each tube. However, this format is an expensive format as the 2D barcode adds a cost of about $0.30 per tube and the use of a screw cap adds another $0.282. Cost drops with volume usage but it is still an expensive per sample cost for storage. These extra costs may be justifiable because of the security provided and the ease of interfacing to an electronic sample tracking systems that are also required for tracking samples in a large biobank.
An interesting side point is that manual labeling systems, hand written with a Sharpie or using an adhesive label are much more secure and less subject to failure when they are not stored in a freezer. Much of the extra expenses for labels are due to the need for the labeling to withstand freezer conditions and freeze thaw issues. None of these issues are of concern for samples stored at ambient temperatures.
If you need more capacity without increasing your biobank’s space requirements, consider adopting a more space efficient form of labware, and at the same time “Freezer proof” your samples with GenTegra-DNA to keep them safe, secure and immune to power failures or natural disasters. And these gains in space, economics and security can be made with minimum cost in time and budget, and maximum benefit to your biobank.