A pneumatic egg punch is a pressurized tool used to create a circular window in an eggshell for tissue extraction. As eggshells are so delicate, and life sciences research has strict contamination prevention requirements, egg shell punching is hard to automate.
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This article will explore using a pneumatic egg punch in the life sciences, with a focus on virus research.
Virology and Egg Punching
Egg punching is often used by researchers working in the field of virology, who wish to know more out the propagation of viruses through animal tissue. Taking assays of the cells in embryonated eggs is an ethical way of collecting the tissue required for this research.
Ethnically studying how an animal virus can spread through tissue and the effect that different therapies such as vaccines, both novel and established, have on the virus requires a source of living animal tissue.
In addition, this animal tissue must come from the same batch throughout the experiment, to ensure reproducibility, and to not be too expensive to source. In vitro viral research often requires several cell cultures; meaning high volumes of both the virus and biological tissue are required.
Researchers tend to use fertilized eggs from domesticated chickens as a replenishing source of living animal tissue for inoculation research, and for culturing in viral research. The embryo, yolk membrane, amniotic sac, chorioallantois or allantois can be inoculated without disrupting the development of the embryo or damaging the shell. An inoculated embryonated egg is a fantastic source of animal tissue that can be used in in vitro experiments.
Following incubation of inoculated eggs, infected tissues must be collected from the eggs. This step is difficult as it is important not to disrupt the rest of the tissue in the egg or to cause any cross-contamination, which can affect the experiment results.
Conventionally accessing the inside of the egg was achieved using sterile scissors to open the egg by hand. This process is not ideal as it introduces human error and when a large number of eggs are being used it is extremely time-consuming.
Egg Punch Specifications
The hand-held pneumatic egg punch from Glas-Col is a significant improvement to conventional cutting tools. The egg punch can be used to produce a controlled 1 inch circular crack in eggshells with no damage to the lower air sac membrane. This section can then be removed to provide access for tissue collection.
Contamination risks can be minimized by sterilization of the punch’s blade using regular disinfectants or by heating.
The most notable difference between the use of the egg punch and conventional cutting tools is the increase in throughput that the punch provides. The punch can provide pressures between 50 – 100 psi and can be used to process one egg per second – a previously unheard-of level of throughput for tissue collection. Each egg punch has an expected lifecycle of 1,000,000 punches.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Glas-Col.
For more information on this source, please visit Glas-Col.