lab consumables

5 Common Laboratory Consumables

The well-stocked laboratory will contain various pieces of advanced equipment, but it also depends on certain common laboratory consumables.

Just because these consumables have common, regular uses doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be of the highest quality.

Here are five common laboratory consumables.

Lateral Flow Kits

Due to the pandemic, the lateral flow kit is now something a great many people are familiar with. But it’s also a staple laboratory product.

Lateral flow kits are made to be user-friendly and convenient and provide rapid diagnostic results. They test for antigens indicating the presence of bacteria and viruses.

A major benefit for laboratories offering lateral flow testing capability is how this rapid testing can accelerate the whole decision-making process further down the line. Faster testing leads to earlier diagnosis, monitoring and treatment.

Using immunoassay technology, lateral flow kits will also work with reader technology to give qualitative and quantitative data that enhances test results.

Microbiology Stains

Staining enhances contrast in laboratory samples and is a vital accessory in microbiological examinations.

Microbiology stains can define biological tissues and cell populations. Adding class-specific dyes to substrates will then quantify or qualify the presence of specific compounds. These class-specific dyes can identify:

  • Gram bacteria
  • Cryptosporidium
  • Trichomonas
  • Mycobacteria.

There are also various speciality stains available.

For micro laboratories, stains should be a basic stock item, as they’re essential components for viewing bacterial cells and frontline tools for diagnosing infectious diseases. The gram stain, in particular, is a laboratory fundamental.

Direct Fluorescent Antibody Kits

Direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) techniques can identify bacteria rapidly. This involves the use of a fluorescently labelled monoclonal antibody (mAb) to bind and illuminate a target antigen.

DFA testing kits contain these antibodies and are designed for identifying specific antigens, such as legionella.

Having first taken a sputum sample, then adding the DFA, the fluorescent antibodies will bind to any legionella pneumophila bacteria present. Detection is via the use of a fluorescence microscope.

Direct fluorescent antibody kits are essential pieces of kit for microbiological laboratories offering fast testing for legionella and other common but potentially harmful bacteria.

Inoculation Tools

Inoculation tools are handheld devices that enable users to inoculate growth media on plates or in tubes.

Typically, growth media will be microorganisms such as bacteria or yeasts. Using these precision inoculation tools, you can either streak the inoculum onto, inject it into, or disperse it in agar-based media.

This prepares your sample for incubation, multiplication and growth.

The tools consist of a handle with a loop or needle at the end, specially designed to pick up and transfer small quantities of inoculum, transferring it from the donor culture to a growth medium.

In certain situations, where you need to transfer semi-quantitative amounts of inoculum, you can use a calibrated inoculation tool for this purpose.

Inoculation tools include:

  • Sterile disposable plastic loops
  • Calibrated nichrome wire loops
  • Insulated handles and
  • Spreaders.

Glassware and Storage

Last but certainly not least in our list of common consumables are these essential items for storing laboratory samples, substances and chemicals.

Glassware is one of these basics. Your media storage bottles should be reusable and durable. Ideally, look beyond standard laboratory glass, for superior chemical and temperature resistance.

Glass media storage bottles should be able to withstand extremes of temperature, from -70°C to 500°C. This will allow for their repeated use in dry heat sterilisation chambers, microwaves, autoclaves and freezers.

The other important aspect of laboratory storage is racking for petri dishes, tubes and other containers.

You want storage ranks that will help keep your samples and other media easier to find but well-ordered. Your laboratory racks should be high quality and able to withstand both high and low temperatures during sterilisation and freezing processes.

The best solution is modular, where you can easily add to stacks of container racks, without compromising on the safety and reliability of your rack storage. Go for a multi-purpose solution that offers colour-coding and supports ISO 15189 compliance

A high-functioning, efficient micro laboratory needs to be tidy but adaptable. Modern storage systems and containers will help you achieve this.

How to Stock Your Laboratory

As a leading supplier of microbiology equipment, we can ensure your laboratory has the common laboratory consumables that it needs to offer a high-quality service, meeting your needs and those of your customers.

To speak to our team, please call +44 (0)151 353 1613, email us at, or fill in our contact form, and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.

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