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Microplate Readers

Microplate Readers

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Product Focus: Microplate Readers

Microplate readers are used widely in research, drug discovery, bioassay validation, and QC and manufacturing processes. Their usefulness lies in their ability to reduce, if not eliminate, the amount of human subjectivity needed to evaluate plate contents.

Common detection modes for microplate assays are absorbance, fluorescence intensity, luminescence, time-resolved fluorescence and fluorescence polarization.

“When working with fluorescence-based assays, two detection technologies are available: filter-based and monochromator-based. Previously, researchers had to chooseonly one type, which restricted the assays that could be read on the multi-mode reader,” says BioTek product manager Xavier Amouretti. More than one detection technology in an instrument increases convenience in current and future microplate assay choice.

“An important consideration for many researchers is the ability to run various sample types and tests, making the instrument’s flexibility a significant criterion,” says Alisa Jackson, product manager for Beckman Coulter. In the case of that company’s optimized power-detection cartridges, Jackson says they have “nearly doubled the number of available detection choices, and will continue to address new applications.”

“Match the resolution of the instrument to the type of cellular assay to be performed—single-cell and sub-cellular assays require the highest possible resolution,” says Gabriele Gradl, global product leader for high-content screening at PerkinElmer.

Gradl also reminds end users that if they want to perform fixed-cell assays or live cell assays that require environmental control features, “look for readers with temperature, CO2 and humidity control suitable for long-term live-cell screening experiments.”

Microplate readers come with software for everything from data collection, reduction and analysis to documentation and validation to LIMS. Consider what kind ofdata you will be generating to determine what kind of software you require.

Additional things to consider:

How many people will be using the instrument, and your desired throughput.

The number of parameters required for read-out. Do you want to perform bulk fluorescence or have imaging-based read-out?

Will your assays have an endpoint or will results be acquired over a time course?

What plate format do you want to use? Plates can range from 96-well up to 1536-well format.

Rather than comparing specifications from different manufacturers, Amouretti believes most researchers are looking for a level of familiarity—“what’s being used in the lab down the hall, or in published papers?” He says that only after the field is narrowed do budget and technology become important.

Beckman Coulter

PARADIGM™ Detection PlatformThe PARADIGM™ Detection Platform features optimized power-detection cartridges that are interchangeable to meet varying assay needs. The detector reads on the fly, in formats from six to 1,536 wells. The eight initial cartridges provided fluorescence polarization, time resolved fluorescence, and dual-label and luminescence detection. Four new introductions—two luminescence cartridges optimized for 96- and 384-well plate formats, a cartridge for BRET2 (Bioluminescence Resonance Energy Transfer) live cell assays and a rhodamine fluorescence cartridge for a selection of cyanine dyes—bring the total number of detection cartridges to 14.


Molecular Devices

 SpectraMax M5eThe SpectraMax M5e multi-detection microplate reader is designed for flexibility. It provides high-sensitivity fluorescence, time-resolved fluorescence, fluorescence polarization, absorbance and luminescence assays. Users can choose any wavelength between 250 nm and 850 nm. Endpoint, kinetic, spectrum, multi-wavelength and well-area scanning reading methods are used to run cell viability and proliferation, kinase, reporter gene, ELISA, nucleic acid and protein quantification, and enzymatic assays. The instrument meets the growing need to detect biomolecular complex formation and is now certified for use in HTRF, LanthaScreen and IMAP assays. For customers in regulated environments, the reader offers tools to validate instrument and software performance.



Biotek Synergy 4The Synergy™ 4 multi-detection microplate reader combines filter-based and quadruple monochromatorbased fluorescence detection technology to perform an unlimited number of microplate-based assays. This hybrid technology provides flexibility in current and future microplate-based assay choice. In addition, it includes fluorescence intensity, luminescence, fluorescence polarization, time-resolved fluorescence and UV-Vis absorbance. The design of the filter systems provides fast wavelength switching and higher read speeds. Quadruple monochromator-based fluorescence technology offers flexible wavelength selection, true spectral scanning and reduced background noise.



PerkinElmer OperaThe Opera™ and Opera™ LX are confocal microplate readers for fully automated, image-based, high-speed and high-resolution cellular screening. They are suited forhigh-throughput live cell screening, with the addition of precision environmental control and a dispensing unit for kinetic experiments. Potential cell stress is reduced by the use of Nipkow spinning disk imaging technology, which minimizes phototoxicity while enabling high-speed confocal imaging. Four lasers plus a xenon lamp and up to four CCD cameras enable parallel multicolor image acquisition. Analysis modules are available for all key applications.

If you are in the market for new Microplate Readers, Lab Manager and LabX can have qualified companies contact you directly. 
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