Centrifuge Applications for Blood Separation

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Blood Separation

In a Clinical Laboratory, centrifugation is one of the initial steps in testing a patient's blood. The blood is collected in tubes or bags, depending on the prescribed test from the doctor. Tubes can vary in size from 1.2mL to 15mL, while bags are usually around 300mL to 500mL.

Role of Centrifugation

The role of a centrifuge in testing blood is to separate whole blood into its various components. Each component of blood has a specific use in the body and therefore a different test may be required FOR EACH component. Blood can be centrifuged in a tube, bottle or bag. Blood collected from blood donors are collected in bags. Blood collected at a hospital or testing lab is collected in tubes. Blood collection in a bottle is for microbiological testing and contains transport media to preserve the micro-organism.

Blood is separated in bags and blood tubes into it’s various components:

  • Red Blood Cells (RBC), erythrocytes, carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
  • White blood cells (WBC), or leucocytes, aid the immune system in fighting infections. There are five types of WBC: lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, basophils, and neutrophils (granulocytes).
  • Plasma is a yellowish componenet in which the blood is normally suspended. Plasma contains proteins, glucose, clotting factors, hormones, and carbon dioxide.

Why Hettich

A leading manufacturer of clinical centrifuges, Hettich offers a full line of centrifuges for all blood applications with any size container. We offer compact tabletop centrifuges for STAT, PPP and Coag., to medium/high capacity benchtop and floor standing models for high throughput blood centers and blood banks. All Hettich centrifuges ship with a 5-year warranty.

Hettich has been manufacturing centrifuges for over 107 years with Germany quality and precision. Each centrifuge is designed, built and tested to withstand continuous use year after year. Hettich North America has a full warehouse of products in Massachusetts for quick, overnight delivery on almost any centrifuge.

Hettich Centrifuges can hold all types of blood tubes, bottles or blood bags. With the right combination of buckets and inserts, a Hettich centrifuge is available to fit your laboratory’s application. Below is a sample of the type of centrifuge tubes a Hettich centrifuge can spin.

Light Blue Top
- Sodium Citrate, either 3.2% or 3.8% Citrate. Citrate is an anticoagulant it binds Calcium which is needed for coagulation. Result is RBC and Plasma. This tube goes to Coagulation for Prothrombin time and other coagulation tests.

  • Size: 13 x 75mm
  • Volume: 1.8 mL, 2.7 mL, 4.5 mL
  • Additive: Sodium Citrate (3.2% or 3.8%) (Citrate is an anticoagulant so the blood will not clot prior to testing).
  • Most common tests: to determine coagulation disorders
  • Suggested Hettich Centrifuge: Rotofix 32A, Universal 320, Rotina 380

Red Top

  • Size: 13 x 100mm
  • Volume: 4ml, 5ml, 6ml
  • Additive: activator and silicone coated interior
  • Most common tests: routine chemistry, serology, immunochemistry and TDM testing.
  • Suggested Hettich Centrifuge: Rotofix 32A, Universal 320, Rotina 380

Green / Light Green Top

  • Size: 13 x 75mm, 13 x 100mm
  • Volume: 3ml, 7ml, 10ml
  • Additive: Sodium herparin, lithium heparin
  • Most common tests: for plasma determinations in chemistry
  • Suggested Hettich Centrifuge: Rotofix 32A, Universal 320, Rotina 380

Purple / Lavender Top

  • Size: 13 x 75mm
  • Volume: 2ml, 3ml, 5ml
  • Additive: EDTA K2, EDTA K3
  • Most common tests: hemoglobin, complete blood count
  • Suggested Hettich Centrifuge: Rotofix 32A, Universal 320, Rotina 380

Pink Top

  • Size: 13 x 100mm
  • Volume: 6ml
  • Additive: EDTA K2
  • Most common tests: blood hematology and blood banking
  • Suggested Hettich Centrifuge: Rotofix 32A, Universal 320, Rotina 380

Grey Top

  • Size: 13 x 75mm
  • Volume: 2ml
  • Additive: Potassium oxalyate and sodium fluoride. Sodium fluoride/ Na2 EDTA
  • Most common tests: Glucose levels, blood alcohol levels, lactate, bicarbonate
  • Suggested Hettich Centrifuge: Rotofix 32A, Universal 320, Rotina 380

Yellow Top

  • Size:
  • Volume:
  • Additive: Acid citrate dextrose (ACD) solution A or ACD solutions B
  • Most common tests: Blood banking, DNA testing
  • Suggested Hettich Centrifuge:

Royal Blue Top


  • Size:
  • Volume:
  • Additive:
  • Most common tests:
  • Suggested Hettich Centrifuge:

Blood Bags