Antibody Storage Recommendations
Since antibodies are designed to retain biological activities in vivo over periods of many weeks at body temperatures in the 41-42˚C range, they are quite thermostable. Other issues are:
Freezing. The biggest issue with regards to antibody stability is freezing. All antibodies are labile to one degree or another by freezing conditions, presumably due to the damage incurred during ice crystal formation. In this regard, chicken antibodies, like rabbit and mouse antibodies, will lose some biological activity (typically about 50%) upon freezing. Therefore, it is essential that multiple freeze-thaw cycles be avoided at all cost.
Light. All antibodies (and most proteins) are also labile to light. It is essential, therefore, to keep them in the dark when storing antibodies for long periods of time.
Contamination. Similarly, all proteins, including antibodies, are labile to degradative enzymes release by bacteria and other microorganisms, especially proteinases. It is essential, therefore, to keep aliquots of antibodies biologically sterile.
Short-term Storage of Antibodies
For short-term (up to 1 year), we recommend storage at –4˚C in the dark. When removing aliquots, it is essential that sterile techniques be followed.
Long-term Storage of Antibodies
For longer-term storage (from 1-5 years), we recommend diluting the antibodies 1:1 with glycerol, re-filter sterilizing them, and then storing them at -20°C in the dark. Again when removing aliquots, it is essential that sterile techniques be followed.
Very Long-term Storage of Antibodies
For very long-term storage (more than 5 years), we recommend storage at –80˚C. Although there will be some loss of biological activity accompanying the freezing (typically about 50%), the remaining biological activity will be stable indefinitely.
We routinely add sodium azide as an antimicrobial agent to all preparations of antibody in order to discourage the growth of bacteria and fungi. If you do NOT want us to add sodium azide to your preparations for any reason, please let us know ahead of time. We can substitute thimerosal or not add any antimicrobial agents at all (afterall, the antibodies will be filter-sterilized). If you want to get rid of sodium azide, we recommend simple dialysis.