TABLE 3

Commonly Used Blood Collection Tubes

Tube Additive (Product)Tube DescriptionLaboratoryUseNotes
Clot activator/gel (serum)BD: Gold topGeneral blood chemistryClotting time: 30 min
Silicone coated, clot activator (serum)BD: Red topGeneral blood chemistry, serology, and blood bankingClotting time: 60 min
Rapid serum separation, decreases hemolysis109–111
Analyte instability when exposed to the gel barrier112
Gel barrier is unstable under extreme temperatures21
Thrombin-based clot activator (serum)BD: Orange topStat determinations in general blood chemistryClotting time: 5 min
Clot activator (serum) or K2EDTA (plasma)BD: Royal blue topTrace elements, toxicology, and nutritional-chemistryCommonly used to determine contamination with traces of lead113
NaFl (serum) or NaFl and oxalate or EDTA (plasma)BD: Gray topGlucose determinationsFluoride does not prevent loss of plasma glucose during the first 30–90 min after blood collection,114 but does prevent the loss at later times by inhibiting enolase activity115
Sodium citrate (plasma)BD: Light blue topRoutine coagulation determinationPlatelets are most stable in citrate anticoagulant23
High-quality DNA and RNA25,26
Produces high yield of lymphocytes for culture25,26
Can cause a dilution of the plasma
Heparin (plasma)BD: Green topPlasma determinations in chemistryHeparin binds to different cellular proteins, potentially interfering with downstream analysis25–27
Heparin inhibits T-cell proliferation and culture efficacy25,26
Heparin and gel (plasma)BD: Light green topPlasma determinations in chemistryTo measure UE, LFTs, cardiac enzymes, Ca2+, Mg2+, phosphate, uric acid, total protein, amylase, lipids, bone profile, troponin, iron status, and ACE116
K2EDTA (plasma)BD: Lavender or pink topWhole-blood hematology determinationsGood for DNA-based assays
Can influence Mg2+ concentrations and interfere with cytogenetic analysis25
Samples can undergo marked changes before centrifugation23
K2EDTA (plasma)BD: Tan top; PED: NoLead determinationsLead levels are more accurate with EDTA as anticoagulant than heparin117
K2EDTA and gel (plasma)BD: White topMolecular diagnostic testing (such as, but not limited to, polymerase chain reaction and/or branched DNA amplification techniques)A combination of a spray-dried anticoagulant and a gel material, which separates erythrocytes, granulocytes, lymphocytes, and monocytes from the supernatant118
K2EDTA and protein stabilizers (plasma)BD: P100 tubesFor protein preservation and isolationProvides the anticoagulant activity of EDTA and enhanced stability of peptides and proteins120
Compatible with proteomic analyses, including MALDI-TOF, LC-MS, 2D-PAGE, and immunoassays121
PPACK, aprotinin, and EDTA; PPACK and sodium citrate; Corn trypsin inhibitor and sodium citrateHematologic Technologies Inc:119 SCAT-I, SCAT-II, SCAT-27-4.5/5For protein preservation and isolationIn stock or custom-made tubes with different additives and protein inhibitors according to the researcher’s needs
K2EDTA and DPP-IV, protease inhibitor cocktail (lyophilized)BD: P700 tubesGLP-1 determinationRecovery and preservation of plasma GLP-1 is higher using P700 tubes compared with other tubes; the stability of GLP-1 is in the following order: P700 > P100 > EDTA > heparin = citrate > serum122
Compared with other tubes, the peptide GLP-1 was still detected after incubation for 96 h in P700122
K2EDTA and proprietary cocktail of protease, esterase and DPP-IV inhibitorsBD: P800 tubesGLP-1, GIP, glucagon, and ghrelin determinationsDegradation of GLP-1 and GIP peptides were observed within 2–6 h in EDTA plasma, whereas P800 stabilized these peptides for 96 h. In EDTA, ghrelin half-life is 15.9 h, whereas in P800 its half-life is >3 d123
The P800 tubes are compatible with proteomic analyses, including MALDI-MS, and immunoassays123
  • ACE, angiotensin-corventing enzyme; BD, BD Biosciences; DPP-IV, proprietary dipeptidyl peptidase IV; ELISA, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; GIP, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide; GLP-1, Glucagon-like peptide 1; K2EDTA, dipotassium EDTA; LC-MS, liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry; LFT, liver function test; MALDI-MS, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry; MALDI-TOF, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight; PPACK, D-phenylalanyl-l-prolyl-l-arginine chloromethyl ketone; 2D-PAGE, 2-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis; PED, pediatrics; SCAT, special collection anticoagulant tubes; UE, Na, K, urea, creatinine.