Preparing and sending your samples

Samples for extraction projects can be shipped to LGC in plates or tubes, and full guidelines can be viewed on our website.

When sending biological samples to LGC, it is important to follow the guidelines below to ensure that your samples arrive at LGC in good condition. Failure to do so may result in a delay to your project.

Please ensure that samples are suitably labelled to enable efficient processing in our laboratory.

Infectious materials must be clearly labelled as infectious, regardless of the nature of the pathogen or the origin of the samples.  Please provide as much information as possible as to the nature of the infectious status.

Outlined below are guidelines for:

  1. Samples in plates
  2. Samples in tubes
  3. Shipping of samples to LGC

Samples in plates

Plate type

  • Samples can be submitted in 96-well plates
  • 1.2 mL round-bottomed plates are commonly used, and are compatible with LGC’s robotics
  • We can accept a wide range of plate types – please contact us to confirm if your plate type is suitable

Plate sealing

  • Plates must be sufficiently sealed to prevent sample leakage and contamination in transit
    • Use of sticky seals is not sufficient
  • LGC recommend the use of:
    • Heat sealing – use of a thermal weld will ensure that each individual well of the sample plate is sealed
    • Cap strip or cap mat sealing – these provide an individual seal for each well of the sample plate 
  • If the plate seal obscures the well location identifiers, please mark the A1 corner of the plate

Labeling of plates

  • Plates sent to LGC must be barcoded or clearly labelled – please do not use handwritten IDs, but use a labelling machine / typed labels instead
  • Labels must be able to withstand temperatures of -20ºC
  • The physical plate name must match the name given to the plate in the submitted plate map file
    • Minimum plate name length is 1 character
    • Maximum plate name length is 15 characters
    • Only alphanumeric, underscore or dash characters should be used

Packaging of plates

  • If you are submitting more than one plate, please ensure that you place a cardboard spacer between each plate.  This will prevent the bottom of one plate piercing the seal of the plate stacked below it.

Samples in tubes

Tube type

  • We can accept a wide range of standard blood collection tubes
  • We can accept Oragene tubes for saliva samples
  • Samples such as buccal swabs can also be sent in tubes – please contact us to confirm if your tube type is suitable.

Tube sealing

  • Tube lids must be sufficiently sealed to prevent sample leakage and contamination in transit.  
  • For microcentrifuge tubes (e.g. Eppendorf tubes), ideally use Parafilm or similar to securely seal tube lids – please avoid use of sticky tape as this is difficult to remove and delays sample processing in the laboratory

Labeling of tubes

  • Tubes sent to LGC must be individually labelled or 1D / 2D barcoded – please do not use handwritten IDs, but use a labelling machine / typed labels instead
  • Labels must be able to withstand temperatures of -20ºC
  • The individual tube IDs must match the names provided in the sample manifest file (Excel list of tube IDs).  
  • Individual tube IDs should not exceed 8 characters
  • Duplicate sample tube IDs must be identified in the sample manifest file – please advise LGC if duplicate samples are to be treated individually or as part of the same sample.  Failure to do this will result in delays to the start of your project as samples cannot be processed through the laboratory until they are all uniquely identified
  • Do not include patient IDs or dates of birth on samples as this contravenes patient confidentiality

Packaging of tubes

  • Tubes should be sent to LGC in racks, with samples in the same order as listed in the sample manifest file.  This enables received samples to be easily checked against the manifest, and any missing samples to be identified quickly and efficiently.


Please notify LGC in advance when you are preparing to ship samples. The sample receipt team will then know to expect your samples, and can ensure that they are quickly tracked to the correct project in our database.

When shipping samples, please include your contact details in the package and your unique project number – we receive large numbers of packages each week and comprehensive labelling will ensure that your samples are processed quickly.

Please follow the shipping conditions guidelines in the table below, according to your sample type.

Sample type Recommended shipping conditions
Cultured cells, tissue / tissue lysate Dry ice
Blood (buffy coat / plasma / serum etc) Dry ice or wet ice
Buccal swabs, FTA paper Room temperature
Saliva in Oragene tubes Room temperature
Plant material – lyophilised / dessicated  Room temperature
Plant material - fresh Dry ice or wet ice