The Beckman Coulter Allegra X-12 Benchtop Centrifuge is used in our laboratory primarily for low speed spins at 4C or room temperature. We primarily spin our samples in swinging bucket rotors with adaptors to fit 15 and 50 ml conical tubes. There are many other types of adaptors available such as those that directly fit cell culture flasks, microplates and others. The Allegra X-12 is a sizeable unit, measuring 30 in x 24.5 in x 13.5 in (w x d x h), and weighs a little over 250 lbs.
The centrifuge is refrigerated, has a maximum speed of 3750 rpm and a maximum RCF of 3270 x g. It can be set for up to 100 h or just pulsed as a ‘short run’ and up to 10 different runs can be programmed into the centrifuge. There are 10 different profiles for acceleration/deceleration and the temperature range of this unit is between –10 and 40 C. There is a digital display, which shows the temperature, speed and time remaining during the run. The time, temperature, RPM/RCF, acceleration and deceleration buttons are conveniently located next to each other and can be set with the easy-to-use numerical keypad. The layout of the display and buttons are very self-explanatory and the manual is not even necessary to figure them out.
Another great feature of this unit is the ARIES Smart Balance System, which will automatically correct imbalances up to 50 g of without shutting down the run. This enables us to simply balance conical tubes by eye, without having to worry about slight imbalances. At the end of each run, there is an audible tone to let one know that the run is done.
I use this centrifuge exclusively to spin down worms in 15 ml conicals, usually in water (if spinning down to prepare RNA later) or M9 buffer (if spinning down to make extracts or synchronizing the worms later) at low speed. For instance, when I am synchronizing the worms by bleaching, I need to spin the worms at low speed many times with M9 buffer at room temperature to get rid of the bleach. Also, if I am preparing worm extracts, I need to spin the worms down in M9 buffer at 4 C, so this unit being refrigerated is a big plus. It also stops pretty quickly, and since I have to do many washes, I don’t want to have to wait long periods of time for the run to stop. As for the cleaning and upkeep, there are none. I haven’t had to clean the machine, and if you don’t use the unit for a while the machine automatically moves the temperature to room temperature from 4 C (if that is the temperature that you set it for instance). It hasn’t broken down or had any glitches what so ever. It is very reliable. This unit if very vital to our laboratory, which allows us to quickly spin down our worms at any set temperature, usually room temperature or 4 C.
Overall, the Beckman Coulter Allegra X-12 Benchtop Centrifuge is very versatile, reliable and enables the user to store up to 10 programs, saving information input time.
Hee Chul Lee
University of Michigan Medical School