Batch Size

The total number of samples will be determined by the experimental design (above), but the batch size should be chosen to suit the equipment used to process the samples ready for analysis. There will be a maximum load for the boiling units, heating blocks and shakers etc., so forward planning will optimize throughput. If an herbage batch size for a researcher is 80, it may be advantageous if he added half of the following batch in order to bring the batch for analysis to 120. This is because of the larger capacity of the heat ing block and the four available autoanalyser sample trays. Another approach would be to accumulate, say 240, samples and digest in two batches. The first batch of digested sample solutions could then be analysed while the second batch is digesting, or they could all be stored until a suitable time for autoanalysis. The main point to make is that the analytical laboratory needs to inform users well in advance of the best protocol for submitting samples. This includes other factors such as amount of sample required, recommended drying procedure, labelling, when to bring them in, and what authorized cost code is to be used in charging for the work. The question of prioritizing samples for certain users and situations in which queue jumping is allowed should also be addressed.

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