How Multi-Tasking in Microplate Format Works

By BioTek

Problem: Scientists working in microplate format can go through several wash/dispense cycles in the course of their application. Currently, several different instruments are required to accomplish the necessary procedures, resulting in a high overall operating cost and increased time associated with manual transfers from one machine to another. Scientists are also faced with choosing one liquid dispensing technology—limiting the range of assays that could be used.

The EL406 Microplate Washer Dispenser

Solution: The EL406™ Microplate Washer Dispenser offers fast and efficient 96-, 384-, and 1536-well microplate washing along with both peristaltic pump and microprocessor- controlled syringe pump drive based dispensers on a single platform for maximum application versatility.

By combining microplate washing and reagent addition steps in one compact unit, the microplate is subject to less handling, therefore reducing the threat of crosscontamination. A keypad or PC interface using a single operating system reduces operator error due to programming multiple units. Additionally, cost and time to operate are both streamlined for increased overall efficiency.

A major advantage of peristaltic pump technology is the fully contained fluid path; allowing for sterilization techniques including autoclaving with little to no risk of cross-contamination. Additionally, continuous volumes can be dispensed in multiple channels for increased versatility with low dead volume, and reagents can be recovered by reversing the direction of the peristaltic pump. In counterpoint, peristaltic pump technologies are limited by high cohesive forces such as high viscosity fluids or micro-volumes. These cohesive forces can also cause inconsistencies if the liquid is dispensed in fractions rather than full volumes. The peristaltic pump integrated in the EL406 uses three different autoclavable cassettes (1 μL, 5 μL, and 10 μL) with flexible tubing to deliver full incremental volumes to eliminate the effects of cohesive forces or variable fluid viscosity. In addition to a low dead volume, reagents can be recovered by reversing the direction of the peristaltic pump.

Syringe drive dispensers offer a high degree of accuracy and precision regardless of microplate format, and through a wide volume range. Additionally, syringe pumps do not require the use of consumables, therefore reducing or eliminating any ancillary maintenance costs. The flow rate can be controlled for a variety of applications from gentle cell washing to vigorous reagent dispensing. Dispensing in multiple channels is available, but only in finite volumes. With the addition of two syringe drive dispensers on the EL406, one can rapidly dispense one to three reagents with a high degree of accuracy and precision without operator intervention.

Multifunctional washing and dispensing in 96-, 384-, and even challenging 1536-well microplate formats is now simple, fast and efficient without the expense of multiple dedicated units or limiting dispensing technologies.

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Categories: How it Works

Published In

Next-Generation Laboratories Magazine Issue Cover
Next-Generation Laboratories

Published: February 1, 2009

Cover Story

Next-Generation Laboratories

New open-plan labs are meeting the need for more customized lab settings, including the ability to modify bench setup and support areas as needs change and increase interaction among researchers–now seen as preconditions for scientific breakthroughs.
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