The Ultimate Guide to Glycerol Stock: Preparation, Storage, and Thawing

Glycerol Stock: The Importance of Long-Term Storage for Biological Samples

Introduction: Biological research requires the storage of cell lines, bacterial strains, and other essential samples. To keep these samples viable for long periods, researchers must employ proper storage techniques. One of the most popular methods of long-term storage is the use of glycerol stocks. Glycerol preservation is widely used in the field of microbiology and genetics as it is the most convenient and efficient method of long-term storage.

What is a glycerol stock?

A glycerol stock refers to a bacterial culture that has been mixed with a suitable concentration of glycerol for storage at ultra-low temperatures. Glycerol is an effective cryoprotective agent and stabilizes the bacteria at low temperatures. Glycerol stocks are typically stored at a temperature between -70°C to -80°C for long-term preservation.

Why are glycerol stocks preferred for long-term storage?

Glycerol stocks are an efficient, cost-effective, and reliable means of long-term storage for bacterial cultures. This method ensures the preservation of a viable and homogenous bacterial culture for an extended time. Glycerol stocks also offer several advantages over other methods of long-term storage:

  • Cost-effective: Glycerol is cheap and readily available compared to other types of cryoprotective agents like DMSO or glycols.
  • Stability: Glycerol stocks can last for years at ultra-low temperatures without significant deterioration of bacterial viability.
  • Easy to use: The preparation of glycerol stocks is a straightforward process and requires minimal training.

How to prepare a glycerol stock?

The preparation of glycerol stocks is easy and requires only a few steps:

  1. Grow bacterial culture in rich medium until it reaches the desired phase of growth.
  2. Prepare a glycerol solution of 50-70% (v/v).
  3. Harvest the bacterial culture by centrifugation to remove the culture medium.
  4. Resuspend the bacterial pellet in the glycerol solution and mix well.
  5. Aliquot the bacterial suspension in cryovials and label with appropriate information.
  6. Freeze the cryovials at ultra-low temperatures of -70°C to -80°C.


In conclusion, glycerol stocks offer many advantages as a long-term storage method for bacterial cultures. They are stable, cost-effective, and easy to use. Successful preservation of biological samples ensures that they remain available for future research projects. Researchers should use proper techniques to preserve their bacterial cultures and ensure their viability for future research projects.

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