Overview of specimen collection containers, storage and transport conditions

Biological matrix and collection method Collection, testing and storage device/container Specimen type Biomarker(s) Storage and transport considerations
Capillary blood from a finger prick Microcuvette for portable photometer (tested in field) Whole blood Haemoglobina Test immediately, ensure that cuvettes are kept in dry and air tight container. Do not expose un-used cuvettes to the air.
Microcuvette for portable photometer (tested in field) Whole blood Haemoglobina, folate (RBC) Test immediately or refrigerate specimen and test (Hb) or process specimen (RBC folate) within 1-2 days of blood collection.
Plasma (after centrifugation) Ferritin, sTfR,
RBP, AGP, CRP
Refrigerate whole blood and generate plasma within 2-3 days of blood collection. Plasma stable for 1 week refrigerated and 1 year at -20˚C. Ship frozen samples on dry ice.
Small blood collection tube without anticoagulant Serumb Ferritin, sTfR,
RBP, AGP, CRP
Refrigerate whole blood and generate serum within 1 day of blood collection. Serum stable for 1 week refrigerated and 1 year at -20˚C; ship frozen samples on dry ice.
Venous blood from venipuncture Vacuum tube with EDTA Whole blood Haemoglobina
folate (RBC), B12
Refrigerate and protect whole blood from light and generate haemolysate within 1-2 days of blood collection. Haemolysate is stable for 1 month at -20˚C; long-term storage at -70˚C; ship frozen samples on dry ice.
Plasma (after centrifugation) Ferritin, sTfR, RBP, AGP, CRP, retinol, MRDR Refrigerate whole blood and generate plasma within 2-3 days of blood collection. Plasma stable for 1 week refrigerated and 1 year at -20˚C. Ship frozen samples on dry ice.
Dried blood spot (RBC folate) Folate (RBC) Refrigerate and protect whole blood from light and generate DBS within 1 day of blood collection. Dry DBS at ambient temperature; DBS stable for 2 days refrigerated and 1 year at -20˚C. Long-term storage at -70˚C. Ship frozen samples on dry ice.
Vacuum tube without anticoagulant and with a serum separator – trace metal freeb Serum (after centrifugation) Zinc, ferritin, sTfR, RBP, AGP, CRP, retinol, MRDR, folate (serum), vitamin B12 & vitamin D (25OHD) Refrigerate whole blood and generate serum within 1-2 days of blood collection. Serum stable for 1 week refrigerated and 1 year at -20˚C. Ship frozen samples on dry ice.
Urine sample Sterile cup with lid (could be transferred to sterile cryogenic vial) Urine Urinary iodine Can be stored refrigerated or frozen at -20˚C. Ship frozen samples on dry ice

EDTA: ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid; sTfR: soluble transferrin receptor; RBC: red blood cell; RBP: retinol binding protein; AGP: alpha-1-acid glycoprotein; CRP: C-reactive protein; MRDR: modified relative dose response.

a Whole blood can be collected into microcuvette directly from finger or heel prick or from whole blood collected in a small blood collection tube or vacuum tube.

b Trace metal free tubes needed for zinc assessment.