Manage Aliquots & Derivatives Using CloudLIMS

What are Aliquots & Derivatives?

Sample aliquoting is the practice of dividing a sample into one or more smaller portions. Each smaller portion of the sample is known as an aliquot and it is similar in characteristics as the parent sample. It only differs in quantity. A sample or an aliquot can be further processed to obtain derivatives. The derivatives have different characteristics to that of the parent sample or aliquot. These processed outcomes differ in terms of chemical nature, quantity etc depending upon the type and volume of reagents used during sample processing. The derivatives can be further aliquoted and stored for various purposes.

Why Aliquots

Sample integrity plays a critical role in biorepositories and clinical research. The major threats to a sample's integrity include inappropriate sample nomenclature, repeated freeze-thaws, sample contamination due to inadequate labware sterilization (such as pipettes, tips, etc.) or a missing sample vial, that lead to meaningless test results. When such test results are delivered to a patient, they drastically affect a patient's experience in terms of lost time and faith in the laboratory's proficiency. Laboratories and biorepositories often aliquot samples during preservation and sample preparation to ensure that its biochemical composition and molecular integrity is retained. For instance, if one aliquot is lost, contaminated or degraded owing to multiple freeze-thaws, there is always a back up aliquot in place—with conserved integrity—that facilitates uninterrupted sample testing and processing. Furthermore, many biobanks distribute aliquots across multiple freezers in geographically isolated locations as a part of their disaster recovery plan.

Managing Aliquots & Derivatives with Sample Genealogy

Sample genealogy refers to the parent-child relationship between subjects (patients), samples, aliquots and derivatives. Keeping track of the comprehensive sample information—such as sample storage, number of aliquots/derivatives, associated subject data, test data etc—enables quick sample identification, sample processing and in turn quicker sample turnaround times. However, managing voluminous data related to multiple samples, aliquots, derivatives and tracking them using spreadsheets and paper based schemes often becomes tedious and time-consuming. What if you could track an aliquot or a derivative and pull up the meta data in a matter of seconds?

CloudLIMS offers CloudLIMS with complete sample, aliquot and derivative management functionality in the integrated Samples module. Using this module, you can create aliquots/derivatives for any sample collected from a particular subject/patient in a compliant environment. CloudLIMS not only associate the aliquots/derivatives with the parent samples and patient data, but also, automatically record the parent-child relationship. The software thereby, maintains the complete genealogy for each sample. This information is represented in the form of unique identifiers such as Parent ID, Subject ID and Genealogy. For a selected sample record, genealogy provides a hierarchical tree view of aliquots and derivatives, along with other meta-data such as storage location, time stamp, custodian etc. Additionally, each aliquot can be further sub-aliquotted, while maintaining the lineage. Intrinsically, aliquots carry their parent's consent restrictions to unauthorised user access, following the HIPAA guidelines. The Samples module also allows you to configure alerts for aliquot/derivative volume, expiration date, freeze-thaw count and many more.

How to Manage Aliquots & Derivatives Using CloudLIMS

You can create, edit and delete aliquots and derivatives.


To create an aliquot or derivative from the Samples and Subjects modules:

A. Creating Aliquots or Derivatives from Samples Module:

  1. Go to the Samples module and select a Sample Type.
  2. Select a sample record and click Create Aliquot/Derivative. The Create Aliquots/ Derivatives window displaying the selected sample will open.
  3. In the “Please specify child categories and criteria” section, specify the Child Category (Aliquot/Derivative). For an aliquot, the Aliquots/Derivatives Type will be automatically displayed: “As of parent sample”. For the derivative child category, you can select a specific sample type from the dropdown menu.
  4. Specify the number of aliquots/derivatives and the quantity along with the measurement unit. For the aliquots, the Total Consumed Quantity will be calculated automatically, whereas, for derivatives, the user will be allowed to provide an input for the consumed quantity.
  5. Using the Add new row button you can add more aliquot or derivative entries and click Create Aliquots/Derivatives.
  6. The created aliquots will be listed as samples under the same sample type as that of the parent. The derivatives will be listed under the sample type specified by the user. However, their sample categories will be updated to Aliquot and Derivative respectively.
  7. The Genealogy link will be available against each sample record in the table and the form.

B. Creating Aliquots/ Derivatives from Subjects Module:

  1. Go to the Subjects module and select a Subject Type.
  2. Select a subject or patient record and click Add Samples. The Add Samples window will open.
  3. Click the Associated Samples. A list of samples associated with this subject will be displayed.
  4. Select a sample and click Create Aliquot/Derivative. The Create Aliquots/Derivatives window displaying the selected sample will open.
  5. In the “Please specify child categories and criteria” section, specify the Child Category (Aliquot/Derivative). For an aliquot, the Aliquots/Derivatives Type will be automatically displayed: “As of parent sample”. For the derivative child category, you can select a specific sample type from the dropdown menu.
  6. Specify the number of aliquots/derivatives and the quantity along with the measurement unit. For the aliquots, the Total Consumed Quantity will be calculated automatically, whereas, for derivatives, the user will be allowed to provide an input for the consumed quantity.
  7. Using the Add new row button you can add more aliquot or derivative entries and click Create Aliquots/Derivatives.
  8. The aliquot information can be found in the Aliquot Count column of the Associated Samples or in the table displaying the list of subject records.
  9. The Genealogy link will be available against each subject record in the table and the form.

Note: Alternatively, the saved aliquots and derivatives can also be accessed from the Samples module under the specific Sample Type.

To edit an aliquot or derivative record:

  1. Go to the Samples module and select a Sample Type.
  2. Select an aliquot or derivative from the list of displayed samples and click Edit. The Sample Information form will open.
  3. Make the required changes and click Update.

To delete an aliquot or derivative record:

  1. Go to the Samples module and select a Sample Type.
  2. Select an aliquot or derivative from the list of displayed samples and click Delete. Confirm to delete the record.

Alternatively, if you have already added the aliquots or derivatives in the Samples module and need to associate them with a patient, here is how to do it:

  1. In the Samples module, select an aliquot or derivative under a particular Sample Type and click Edit. The Sample Information window will open.
  2. Under Subject Information section, click on the Subject ID field. The list of available subjects or patients is displayed in a new window.
  3. Select the relevant patient record that you would like to link to the sample and click Update.

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