Here at CST, we frequently get questions about the proper shipping temperature for antibodies. So we thought we would do an interview with an expert on this topic, our very own Seneca Stone who directs our global supply chain operations.
Question: Why do most of my CST orders ship at room temperature?
Seneca: We pride ourselves on top-quality antibodies, and stability testing is a key component to guaranteeing high quality. Many of our antibodies are unaffected by ambient temperatures during the short shipping period. In fact, roughly 60% of our antibodies are able to be shipped without any cooling measures needed. Only about 39% of our antibodies require cold shipping, and less than 1% require sub-zero shipping conditions.
Question: How is an antibody’s best shipping temperature determined?
Seneca: Each antibody undergoes testing to determine the impact of exposure to different temperatures over a one-week period. Samples of the antibody are packaged and stored at three temperatures: −20°C, room temperature, and 37°C. At the end of seven days, the antibodies are assessed to determine if there have been changes in their activity at any of the tested temperatures.
For example, the shipping temperature test results for our Anti-rabbit IgG HRP-linked Antibody #7074 demonstrate the consistent performance of the antibody after storage at all three temperatures:
Western blot analysis of extracts from SK-MEL-28 cells probed with EEA1 Antibody #2411 and GAPDH (D16H11) XP® Rabbit mAb #5174. The secondary, Anti-rabbit IgG, HRP-linked Antibody #7074, was incubated at -20, RT, or 37 degrees for 1 week before being used for detection.
If you receive an antibody at room temperature, rest assured that it has been thoroughly tested to ensure antibody performance is still optimal following shipping.
Question: What about ambient shipping during hot summer weather?
Seneca: It is possible that a shipment could be exposed to high temperatures as it sits inside the delivery truck on the day of delivery. That is why our test includes a temperature of 37°C (98.6°F). As shown in the results for Anti-rabbit IgG HRP-linked Antibody #7074, the antibody is stable even after one week at this elevated temperature, which far exceeds the length of time a shipment might be exposed to hot temperatures.
You can see more test results for other antibodies at the CST Stability Test Results webpage.
Question: Why does the temperature vary from shipment to shipment?
Seneca: The shipping temperature for an order is determined based on the mix of products included in the order. If all items in an order have been verified stable at ambient temperature, then the entire order is shipped at ambient temperature. However, if one or more items require cold shipping, then the entire order is shipped in packaging designed to keep your product between 2 and 8°C until it arrives in your lab. If you typically receive your orders at ambient temperature but notice this changes when you include a new item in your usual order, it means the new item requires cold shipping.
Question: Does this mean I can store my antibodies at room temperature?
Seneca: In the majority of cases, long-term storage at ambient temperature is discouraged because it could result in antibody degradation. You should check the data sheet for each antibody you receive to determine proper storage temperature. In most cases your storage temperature will be −20°C, although some conjugated antibodies may be stored at 4°C. The correct storage temperature is listed on the vial. Also, data sheets for each CST antibody are available at CST’s Data Sheets webpage so you can easily identify or double-check the proper storage temperature for your antibodies.
Question: Why not just ship them all cold?
Seneca: Here at CST, we are always looking for viable ways of reducing our environmental footprint. By testing our antibodies for shipping temperature options, we are able to reduce the amount of shipping material waste generated while still maintaining the highest product quality.
We hope this information helps you understand the reasoning behind CST’s shipping temperature strategy. We are here to answer any other questions you may have on this or other topics. Just reach out to our Technical Support team or call your CST representative. We are always happy to help!