Lab consumables are disposable lab supplies used to support a broad range of research and testing applications, and include items such as pH test strips, specimen collection items, lab filters, pipette tips, swabs, and sample bags. Other lab consumables include agar media, boiling stones, and desiccants, as well as stationery such as notebooks and labels. These items are typically found in a scientific, educational, industrial, or medical facility for use by technicians, scientists, researchers, and medical personnel.
For use in a wide range of scientific and industrial applications, pH test strips measure the acidity or alkalinity (basicity) of an aqueous solution. Typically, pH test strips are made of paper infused with a chemical compound (known as a universal indicator) that reacts with the solution and changes color according to the level of acid or base in the solution. The color on the paper can be compared to a standard color chart to indicate the approximate pH level of the solution. Strips for testing pH are commonly used in medicine, biology, chemistry, water treatment and purification tests, and environmental science. As part of medical tests, they can help diagnose conditions such as lactose intolerance or viral infections. They are also used for testing the pH levels in swimming pools, aquariums, or soil samples.
Specimen collection supplies are typically used with diagnostic tests and medical procedures. Plastic containers for urine samples may be sterile and sealed to avoid contamination. Other containers, such as histology cassettes, are for processing and storing samples and specimens obtained during surgical procedures, biopsies, or autopsies. Swabs can be used to collect cells for DNA tests, apply medicine, or clean a wound. Sample bags are typically made of plastic and are used to transport specimens, products, or waste. Lab filters separate particulate from liquids or gases in a variety of filtration applications, including analysis of the particles or filtered solution, or protection for vacuum or suction systems.
In a microbiology lab, agar media is a gelatinous substance that helps facilitate cell growth when spread in a petri dish or other container. Another consumable supply is a desiccant, which is a substance that absorbs water. It is often pre-packaged in small packets and helps protect food and pharmaceuticals that could be damaged by moisture. In a chemistry lab, boiling stones, also called boiling chips or anti-bumping granules, are used to help liquids boil gently without splashing or splattering. They are commonly made of a porous material such as carbon coated with PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) and used in boiling applications such as distillation, evaporation, and extraction.