RapidPick™ ACIS: Innovative, Scalable and Affordable: Fully Automated Colony Growth & Picking System
January 30th, 2012
Total system integration is the key. The RapidPick ACIS brings together multiple instruments in a cost effective and scalable manner. As a result, we have been able to automate several time-consuming steps that have typically been performed manually or off-line due to cost, complexity and other considerations. The RapidPick ACIS allows the user to create a streamlined process for all the instruments to work together, reducing the time required for the process.
How the process works.The process begins with dispensing bacteria into a barcoded NUNC Omnitray containing agar and an antibiotic. Glass beads are added, the plate ‘swirled’ and the beads are decanted. The cover is then put on the NUNC Omnitray and stacked. Once all the plates are finished they are placed in the stacker.
The software starts the first step in the method by bringing the plates to the barcode reader, recording the plate ID, then bringing the lidded plate to the landing station of the orbital shaking incubator located under the deck of the RapidPick System. The process continues until all plates are loaded into the incubator. The incubator maintains temperature and environment for approximately 16 hours.
At a designated time before the incubation time ends, an alert is sent to the user to get ready for the next steps. The user loads a bottle of media and a wash solution to the Micro10x™ and loads the destination plates, either 96 deep well blocks, 96 well plates or 384 well plates. The system begins to operate just before the plates are ready to leave the incubator. The PlateCrane EX™ brings a plate from the stack to the Micro10x. The lid is removed and put into a holding nest; the plate is filled with media and then delivered to the destination side of the colony picker.
The colony plates exit the incubator and The PlateCrane transports them to the source side of the RapidPick™ colony picker. The lid is removed and placed into a holding nest. The systems reads and records the barcodes for both source and destination plates. The most suitable colonies are then selected with user-defined criteria for shape, size, contrast and closeness to nearby colonies. Selected colonies are picked and transferred to the destination plate. Sterilization is done with direct heat to the tungsten pins.
A unique feature of the RapidPick ACIS is the inclusion of an integrated Micro10X dispenser with auto-prime and auto-rinse features. The Micro10x will automatically fill the plates with fresh media on the fly immediately before inoculation, saving you valuable time. This not only limits the potential for contamination, but also automates the tedious and time-consuming process of manually pre-filling the plates. The auto-prime feature keeps the Micro10x primed and ready during long runs and the auto-rinse feature eliminates the problem of clogged tips and tubing if the unit isn’t rinsed after a run. High throughput runs are possible because the attached PlateCrane EX robotic arm with stacks is able to store and manage multiple microplates in a single run. The robotic arm retrieves the colony plates from the incubator one at a time. Each time it removes a colony plate from the incubator, it also removes an empty growth plate from a stack and fills it with fresh media, preparing it to receive a colony that has been selected for inoculation.
The integrated process continues.After inoculation, SoftLinx™ scheduling software executes the method in reverse order, having the PlateCrane return the colony plate to the stack and deliver the inoculated plate into the incubator. The orbital shaking starts with the first plate entering the incubator. The shaking is paused, only then the automated system is moving a plate within the incubator. After the growth plates have been in the incubator overnight, they are either removed by the robotic arm and transferred to liquid handling equipment for assay and analysis or manually removed. Because the PlateCrane EX robotic arm is controlled by SoftLinx software, which easily integrates with over 200 different instruments from a variety of manufacturers, advanced automation of the next steps in the assay is easily accomplished.
Thoroughly tested and proven.The fully automated RapidPick ACIS, an extension of our full line of RapidPick colony-picking workcells, is currently in use by a leading Massachusetts-based cancer research institute, where it is working precisely as designed. They are very satisfied with the system because it has reduced the turnaround time from initial sample and colony plate preparation to isolation and growth of pure, non-mutated bacteria. Because all the components of the system are compatible and fully integrated, laboratory personnel no longer need to manually fill growth plates with fresh media, a tedious and time-consuming activity. Nor do they need to manually load and unload the orbital shaking incubator.
The capability of the RapidPick ACIS can be enhanced even further through the use of accessories such as an automated RSH-4000 adhesive sealer, which is ideal for applying gas permeable seals to any SBS footprint microplate regardless of well density or height. The system also integrates easily with the PA1000 barcode print-and-apply systems from Hudson Robotics. This fully automated system is another example of how Hudson Robotics helps our clients increase productivity through laboratory automation. By anticipating and satisfying your needs, we continue to help you stay ahead of the curve.
For more information or to arrange a demonstration of the RapidPick ACIS in your laboratory, please contact Joe Eckert at 973-376-7400 or email@example.com.