Blood Collection Tube Types , Color Tube, Laboratory Uses

Blood Collection Tubes - Blood Specimen Collection Tubes


Vacutainer blood collection tube is a sterile and plastic test tube with a colored rubber top stopper creating a vacuum seal inside of the tube, facilitating the drawing of a predetermined volume of liquid.  

Blood sample collection and storage are done in special blood collection tubes that allow the preservation of the blood sample over a long period and are used for laboratory testing.

Vacutainer blood collection tubes may contain additives to stabilize and preserve the blood specimen prior to analytical testing.


Check out here what methods of blood collection are?




Phlebotomy is a process in which a needle is used to take blood specimens from a vein, usually for laboratory testing.

Collection of blood specimen of patient sends the laboratory for testing, diagnostic and research.


Know here what are the different types of medical needles used for drawing blood?


Types of Blood Collection Tube


The Blood collection tubes contain different types of additives which are specific for the individual test.

Blood Collection Tube

                        Blood sample tube

1. Blood Culture Bottle




Sodium polyanethol sulfonate (anticoagulant) and growth media for microorganisms.




Two bottles are typically collected in one blood draw; one for aerobic organisms and one for anaerobic organisms.


2. Light Blue Top Tube




Sodium citrate - 3.2% Sodium citrate (anticoagulant)     


Test Used for -


a. Coagulation Screen

b. Bleeding time for platelets function

c. Prothrombin time for extrinsic pathway

d. Partial Thromboplastin Time (aPTT) for intrinsic Pathway


e. D-dimer test

Used to check or monitor blood clotting disorder.

For thrombosis; Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)


f. International Normalized Ratio (INR)  for monitoring patients on Warfarin.


g. aPTT ratio (Activated partial thromboplastin clotting Time)

The test is used for monitoring the patient on an IV Heparin infusion.


3. Red Top Tube



No additive present.


Mode of action

Blood clots and serum separated by Centrifugation.


Test Used for-


a. Chemistry

b. Immunology

c. Serology

d. Blood bank (cross-match)


4. Gold Top Tube (SST): Serum Separating Tube




This tube contains serum gel separator gel.


The test used for -


All Biochemistry tests.


5. Light Green Top Tube/ Heparin Tube



Sodium heparin or Lithium heparin (anticoagulant); prevent clotting


Test Used for-


a. Chromosome testing

b. HLA typing

c. ammonia

d. lactate

e. Renin and Aldosterone


6. Purple Top tube/Lavender




Ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid (EDTA)



Test Used for-


Hematological examination; complete Hemogram.


a. CBC (complete blood count)


b. ESR test

ESR refers to Erythrocyte Sedimentation rate, to measures how fast red blood cells fall to the bottom of a tube.

Inflammation causes create a protein in the blood that makes red blood cells fall more quickly.


c. Reticulocytes

 Check immature red blood cells.


d. Blood film for abdominal cells or malarial parasites


e. PTH (Parathyroid hormone)

f. Red cells folate (RCF) 

To measure of folic acid in the blood. Deficiency of folic acid in the blood cause megaloblastic anemia.


g. Mononucleosis spot or Monospot test

Determine EBV (Epstein-Barr virus).



7. Pink Top Tube      




(EDTA)Ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid; (Anticoagulant)

Used only for Whole Blood, samples s being sent to the transfusion lab.


Test Used for-


a. Blood typing and cross-matching

b. Direct Coombs test for autoimmune haemolytic anemia

c. HIV viral load,

d. Group and save (G & S); sample processing


8.  Grey Top Tube


A tube containing two agents-


1. Sodium fluoride (glycolysis inhibitor); it is Antiglycolytic Agent

2. Potassium oxalate; anticoagulant agent


Test used for-


a. Glucose, lactate testing

b. Glucose FBS (Glucose FBS)

c. GTT (glucose tolerance test)



 9. Yellow Top tube


Contain Acid-citrate-dextrose (anticoagulant).      


A test used for -


Tissue typing, DNA studies, HIV cultures.


Get details on what are different types of syringe tips available and their uses.

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