Frequently Asked Questions
Q. LC Laboratories' prices are often 30-80% lower than those charged by other suppliers, especially for the most widely used products such as kinase and phosphatase activators and inhibitors. Does this mean that the product purity is lower as well?
A. Absolutely not! In fact, we believe that the purity of each of our products is equal to, and in most cases greater than, the purity obtainable from any other source worldwide.
Q. It's a little difficult to see how that is possible — higher purity for a lower cost?
A. The answer is simple. We manufacture all but a few of our products ourselves, and we have large-scale preparative liquid chromatography purification capabilities. Over the past 37 years we have developed numerous proprietary, very efficient, low-cost production methods that have been optimized to provide very high final purity. We have also located very low-cost sources of raw materials for our manufacturing.
When you purchase directly from LC Laboratories, there is no additional cost for a middleman. When middlemen buy and resell products, usually that introduces a two- to four-fold increase in the product cost.
We also take extraordinary care to study and verify the purity and stability of our products. This is extremely important, because many popular products have subtle purity or stability problems that other vendors ignore. Examples include okadaic acid products, calyculin A, chelerythrine, phorbol esters, bafilomycin A1, ryanodine and lavendustins A and B. (Click on the “Product Purity Discussion” button on our home page for more information about these products and the special problems associated with them.)
Also, our prices are low because:
- we don't rent expensive booths at trade shows
- we don't publish massive catalogs in expensive rainbow colors
- we don't place full page, full color ads in journals such as Science and Nature
- we don't spend our (your) money on "free" mugs or T-shirts
Q. Why does LC Laboratories use those flame-sealed, snap-off glass ampules for packaging most of its products, rather than the easier-to-use serum bottles with rubber lined aluminum closures?
A. We realize that the serum bottles with rubber closures are easier to use for many people. However, for several reasons, they are definitely inferior to our ampules from the standpoint of product purity and stability.
The rubber seals on serum bottles are not entirely airtight. Thus, even in the freezer, many important products turn out to be unstable during extended storage in serum bottles because oxygen and moisture can enter and cause degradation. We know from experience that this degradation will occur with phorbol esters and many other organic compounds.
In order to provide products that will maintain high purity while in our inventory (and in our customers' freezers after shipment), we believe the flame-sealed ampules are best. Our ampules are made of highly inert, Type I borosilicate glass and are sealed under a nitrogen or argon atmosphere, assuring maximal long-term stability and purity.
For example, we have observed degradation of phorbols in less than a year when stored in capped bottles, whereas samples flame-sealed in an inert atmosphere are unchanged when analyzed as much as 15 years later.
Q. I bought [a product] from you but I can't see anything in the ampule! Is it empty?
A. The ampule is definitely not empty. Many of our products do not form crystals, which are easy to see even in sub-milligram quantities, but rather exist as a vacuum-dried, transparent solid film on the bottom and lower walls of the ampule. (Technically, this dry, non-crystalline form of a solid is called a “glass”.) Often, when a solvent is added, the presence of the solid can be seen because of local differences in refractive index as the solution forms (i.e. one can see the so-called “Schlieren lines” while the solution remains incompletely mixed).
Q. I received a product from you and its label indicates that it should be stored below -20ºC! Why wasn't it shipped on ice?
A. None of our products has stability problems requiring overnight shipment or refrigeration. Nevertheless, to ensure the integrity of all of our products, we recommend cold long-term storage for essentially all of them.