Blog > Types of Buffer Trays for Tissue Sectioning & Free Floating Tissue Slices

Types of Buffer Trays for Tissue Sectioning & Free Floating Tissue Slices

Published on August 1, 2022

Compresstome® Tissue Slicer Buffer Trays

Although all Compresstome models come standard with a polycarbonate buffer tray. We also offer additional options to suit various experimental needs. The different buffer trays we provide are as follows (Figures 1 and 2):

  • Polycarbonate– Included standard with every Compresstome model.
  • Stainless Steel– Autoclavable and ideal for slice culture experiments.
  • Double-Walled– Designed with separate compartments for packing with ice to keep the buffer solution chilled – increasing the survival of live tissue sections.
Different types of buffer trays
Figure 1. Comparison of different types of Compresstome buffer trays.
Side view of Compresstome buffer trays
Figure 2. Side view of Compresstome buffer trays, showing slots where specimen tubes are inserted.

Free-Floating Tissue Sections

The Compresstome produces slices that are free-floating in the buffer tray solution (watch a 20 sec video of this in action!). Once slices are made they are easily transferred from the buffer solution to a glass slide for analysis, or to a well-plate for storage (Figure 3).

Snapshots from slice retrieval video using a buffer tray
Figure 3. Snapshots from slice retrieval video demonstrating a fixed mouse brain slice being sectioned on the Compresstome (A), becoming a free-floating slice (B), and use of a transfer pipette to retrieve the slice (C and D).

There are several methods to retrieve free-floating sections. One option is to transfer your sections directly onto a glass slide while it is still floating in the buffer solution. This can be done by taking the glass slide and carefully inserting it on an angle in the buffer tray to maneuver the slice onto the slide from there. The advantage of this method is that it avoids the “tortilla effect” from transferring the slice on the tissue handling brush to the slide. This way, you will not need to worry about trying to flatten the slice out from the brush to the slide, as the slices will be cut flat and stay flat in the buffer tank. Keeping the slide on an angle will allow the slice to stay on the slide when you remove it from the buffer tank for the next steps of your experiments. Alternatively, you can also use a fine tissue handling paintbrush or cut the end off a plastic pipette to transfer the slices from the buffer solution to a well plate, slide, etc.

Please note that our agarose embedding process stabilizes the tissue sample and ensures that sections are not harmed during the process of completing your experiment. The agarose provides added strength and durability to the sections, so they will not be damaged if they are transferred with a brush or pipette. Agarose embedding and our patented compression technology are what set the Compresstome apart from other market tissue slicers.

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