Monday, July 6, 2009

Modular Automation Using Stand-alone Instrumentation for ELISA

After reliability and performance, the greatest concern of many researchers when contemplating automation of their assays is the utility of the instrumentation after the project is completed. Many an automated assay system has become the laboratory equivalent of the dust collecting relics known as exercise machines in many people’s homes after the project was finished. The best solution to this dilemma is to provide a modular automation system that can be upgraded, reconfigured, or disassembled and used as stand-alone instruments as needed when project and priorities change.
Automation of biochemical reactions, particularly ELISA, can easily be accomplished by configuring a robotic system that utilizes a Caliper Twister II rotating robotic arm/gripper to move microplates to and from each station. In addition to the Twister II, a Precision XS pipetting station is used to dilute samples and transfer them to the assay plate. Plate washes are carried out using an ELx405 96-well microplate washer, while reagents are added using MicroFill or MicroFlo dispensers, each dedicated to a specific reagent. Incubations can be carried out using a number of different plate hotels and incubators from Liconic or Heraeus depending on incubation requirements, and absorbance measurements are made using a PowerWave XS microplate spectrophotometer.
An automated system with a smaller physical footprint and faster process times can be configured using an EL406 washer dispenser. The EL406 is the equivalent of a total of four instruments; an ELx405 Select CW microplate washer, a MicroFlo dispenser, and two MicroFill dispensers. This configuration, while slightly less flexible, provides an increase in overall throughput as a result of less robotic movements of the microplate.
What types of ELISA reactions does your laboratory run? What sort of plate throughput-demands are required? Do you need elevated temperature or shaking incubations for your assays? What method of detection is used with your assay?

Schematic drawing with top view and side view of a robotic ELISA system. Schematic drawing with side view of a robotic ELISA system.
Schematic drawing with top view and side view of a robotic ELISA system.

By: BioTek Instruments

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