Banking Serum

The value of banking serum is immense – enabling retrospective disease investigations, applied research, and testing to facilitate animal movements. The following are a few basic tips in setting up a serum bank: 


  • If -20 freezers are used, make sure they don't have an automatic defrost cycle.

  • If -70 freezers are used, make sure there is a plan posted on the freezer for how to respond to an alarm.

  • Have back-up generators or a CO2 tank back up for -70 freezers if possible.

  • Have an alternate plan if the freezer and backups fail.

  • Make sure nothing goes in the freezer that has not been properly logged.

  • Make sure a copy of the logbook always stays with the freezer.

  • Make sure cryovial labels are permanent, legible, and standardized.

  • Use the same sized vials in grid boxes and racks for efficient space use and to facilitate retrieval and backfilling of spaces that become empty through use.

  • If infrastructure problems (like frequent power outages) are a concern, consider spots of blood on Whatman FTA cards as your archive backup, if not your primary archive.


The following information should be included in the serum logbook:


  • Date sample collected

  • Elephant name

  • ID #

  • Sex Age

  • Owner

  • Volume of serum

  • Quality of serum (clear, hemolyzed, slightly hemolyzed, very hemolyzed)

  • Grid #

  • Date out

  • Recipient

  • Purpose

  • Comments