What is the reagent shelf life?
Reagent shelf life
The chemical reagents and designs packaging are formulated for as much stability and protection as possible. However, high temperatures, absorption of moisture or gases from the atmosphere, bacterial growth, or light can cause reagents to degrade and not function as intended. The chemical composition of the reagent, type of packaging and storage conditions all affect the shelf life.
Reagents should be stored in a cool (less than 25-30 °C), dry, dark place to ensure maximum shelf life. Some reagents, as indicated on the package label, should even be refrigerated. The shelf life may not be valid once a container such as a bottle has been opened. This is because contaminants from the atmosphere can enter the container and may react with the reagent remaining in the bottle.
When using solutions or bulk powders packaged in bottles, open the bottle for as short a time as possible, just enough time to pour or measure out a portion of the reagent, and then replace the cap tightly. This will minimize the risk of contamination. Also, once reagent has been removed from a container, never add it back to that same container.
The expiration date will indicate the end of the shelf life for that reagent. The reagent shelf life should be printed on the product. In many cases this will be printed near the lot code.
Old reagents that do not function correctly should be disposed of according to the guidelines in the MSDS sheet and individual laboratory quality assurance plans or SOP.