Glassware washers prove to be essential to zebrafish research success

Researchers utilize Miele glassware washers to ensure the efficient running of their zebrafish facilities

15 Apr 2024
headshot of Kiersten Owen, Senior Field Application Scientist at Northeast Scientific Associates (NESA)

There is a need for efficient methods of tank washing to ensure the health and integrity of zebrafish used in research.

Zebrafish have emerged as ideal animal models for studying human disease, significantly advancing our understanding of diseases such as cancer, autism, epilepsy, and heart disease. Kiersten Owen, Senior Field Application Scientist at Northeast Scientific Associates (NESA), works with institutes at the forefront of zebrafish research, spearheading efforts to optimize their zebrafish tank washing methods to ensure the well-being of zebrafish and the accuracy of experimental models.

Zebrafish, like any other animal, can be highly susceptible to foreign chemicals in their environment, making tank washing a critical step in successful zebrafish research. “Historically, many facilities resorted to manual scrubbing with brushes and bleach solutions, avoiding detergents due to concerns about their adverse impact on zebrafish,” explains Owen. “There is a need for a reliable, efficient, and safe method of tank washing that ensures the health and integrity of the zebrafish used in experiments.”

Ensure the safety of your zebrafish

When reprocessing lab instruments such as tanks for reuse, Owen explains the need for tailored solutions.

There is a need for a reliable, efficient, and safe method of tank washing that ensures the health and integrity of the zebrafish used in experiments.


Kiersten Owen

“Each research organization has specific requirements and infrastructure limitations that demand a customized approach to instrument and tank reprocessing,” says Owen. “It’s important to strike a delicate balance between meeting the researchers' unique needs and ensuring the longevity and efficiency of lab instruments, and it requires constant adaptation and innovation.”

Miele has emerged as a game-changer in the field of laboratory glassware washers, providing the tailored solutions individual labs require. “Miele products boast exceptional longevity and are capable of withstanding the rigors of busy lab facilities,” explains Owen. “Crucially, Miele lab washers offer unparalleled flexibility, allowing customization of every aspect of the washing process. With control over wash time, temperature, and concentration of detergent, Miele lab washers can be precisely fine-tuned to suit the demands of each specific lab.”

Moving from manual washing to a glassware washer enables zebrafish institutes to provide a clean and safe environment for zebrafish. “Miele washers’ ability to achieve thermal disinfection at high temperatures is crucial for ensuring a clean and sanitized environment for the zebrafish,” says Owen. “Additionally, the mechanical action of Miele washers can remove years of accumulated algae and grime from tanks, surpassing the results of manual washing techniques.”

“The introduction of the Miele ProCare 10 AO detergent has been a game-changer for zebrafish facilities,” Owen continues. “Surfactant-free and alkaline-based, this detergent effectively removes organic substances without leaving any inhibitory residues. As a result, the zebrafish can be safely reintroduced into the tanks after washing, with no adverse effects on their well-being, which is critical to ensuring the integrity of research studies involving zebrafish.”

Promoting sustainable lab purchasing decisions

Image of the Miele PG 8583 Glassware washer which ensures efficient reprocessing of glassware and tanks used in zebrafish research

There is increasing emphasis on the importance of sustainability in laboratory research. Miele is helping institutes in their pursuit to make greener purchasing decisions by providing transparent third-party audited information on the environmental impact of their lab glassware washers . “The PG 8583 under-counter model comes equipped with the ACT label, reflecting Miele's commitment to delivering products that are manufactured responsibly and reduce energy and water consumption when in use,” states Owen.

The ACT (Accountability, Consistency, and Transparency) label from My Green Lab® scores various aspects of the design and manufacturing of a product to give an overall Environmental Impact Factor (EIF). The ACT label provides purchasing managers with a simplified way to source more sustainable products. “As lab facilities strive to incorporate sustainability into their operations, this certification adds value and accelerates their sustainability programs and initiatives,” explains Owen.

The future of zebrafish research

The high level genome structure shared between zebrafish and humans has facilitated the use of zebrafish for understanding human diseases. In addition to their genetic similarities, zebrafish have transparent embryos and embryonic development happens outside of their mothers’ bodies, meaning cell division can be observed in real-time using microscopes. This enables researchers to easily identify any abnormal cell development, which is important for determining the cause of cancers, identifying how tumors first develop, and where they begin. Zebrafish lay hundreds of embryos a week, which is vastly more than mice. Consequently, experiment replication times are dramatically shortened, and multiple experiments and replications can happen simultaneously.

Looking to the future, Owen describes how Miele glassware washers are poised to elevate zebrafish research practices to new heights. “As you can imagine, zebrafish facilities are fairly large and constantly growing as research demand increases. They need to wash many tanks, which takes up scientists’ time,” says Owen. “With a focus on decreasing cycle time, increasing throughput, and enhancing washer design to accommodate larger tank arrangements, Miele is constantly looking at ways to evolve the washing process and make it easier.” These advancements will undoubtedly streamline research processes, boost productivity, and reinforce zebrafish research as a critical tool in biomedical research.