It seems fitting that #WorldRefrigationDay is happening in the summer (June 26), and refrigeration and freezing is crucial for operations at Fossil Rim.
The Animal Health Department uses a freezer set at -80 degrees Celsius or -112 Fahrenheit! Veterinary technician Allyssa Roberts said the freezer typically holds blood samples – whole blood, serum and plasma, as well as animal feces, tissue samples and swab samples.
“Whole blood is usually sent overnight, but serum and animal feces are frozen and stored at -80 (Celsius) until shipping,” added Dr Holly Haefele. “A freezer capable of this very low temperature is definitely best for medical samples. We store samples for future projects, ongoing research projects and disease investigations.
“The preservation of blood for genetic purposes is the key to our service. For example, we are involved in ongoing black rhino research with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. “
For a number of reasons, household refrigerators and freezers do not live up to laboratory standards. Blood and plasma must be stored within narrow temperature ranges to avoid loss of activity or deterioration, and it must also be taken into account that sometimes valuable or irreplaceable biological samples are stored. Laboratory freezers are designed to maintain an exact and constant temperature in all compartments.
Most household refrigerators have poor temperature recovery after opening the door. Also, their temperature control dial is not precise enough. The cost involved due to improper sample storage justifies the higher cost of more accurate and reliable laboratory freezers and refrigerators.
While not requiring the same extremely low temperatures, carnivorous staff and staff at the Children’s Animal Center at Fossil Rim also need refrigeration and freezing of meats and other food items. The staff at the Overlook Café have similar demands, although the food items are obviously intended for consumers of the human variety.