ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) is a popular quantitative assay to detect and quantify a range of peptides and proteins. However, manual ELISA is very time-consuming – requiring you to perform multiple pipetting steps, washing, incubating, and reading. With ELISA automation, the challenges involving the assay can be overcome without sacrificing the efficacy of the assay. Automation can improve results and provide a range of other benefits. Read on to know more about ELISA automation
Benefits of ELISA Automation
One of the biggest benefits of using an automated ELISA system in the lab is the possibility to provide a walk-away workflow that saves time. With ELISA automation, you don’t have to spend hours at the workstation and instead can focus on other tasks. This greatly increases productivity and allows better use of your team’s skills. Other benefits of ELISA automation are below.
- Increased accuracy and reproducibility: An automated ELISA robot operates exactly as it is programmed, eliminating error. Since each pipetting step and incubation period is accurate and consistent, there’s no pipette volume variation and other errors, which increases the accuracy and reproducibility of the result.
- Cost-efficient: Compared to manual operation, ELISA automation makes it possible to use lower reagent volumes. This, combined with the use of multi-analyte reagents, help to reduce costs.
- Increased flexibility: With useful automation software and robotic components, your automated ELISA system can turn into a flexible workstation that can easily adapt to the required application. You can program the system accordingly, and it can switch to different sample and tube types.
- Faster turnaround time: An ELISA robot can perform faster pipetting without errors and multiple assays simultaneously. This allows for faster results, which are essential in higher throughput labs.
Basics of ELISA Automation
While your lab can benefit greatly from ELISA automation, there are some things to know before you set up your system:
- Optimize your workflow: Your existing workflow might not perform optimally when automated. Therefore, you should optimize your processes and keep in mind that you may need to test and troubleshoot individual steps after automating.
- Integrate with existing instruments: Automation was once regarded as a costly expenditure, especially for smaller labs. However, you can often integrate your new instruments with existing ones, such as an automated pipettor and a microplate handler, using the right software. Identify compatible instruments that you can integrate into an automated system and look for lab automation software that works with different manufacturers’ instruments.
- Consider your throughput: Your ELISA automation investment depends on your desired throughput. If you have a low to medium throughput, you can benefit from workstations that process a single or up to four plates per run and set up a semi-automated system instead. However, if you require high throughput, you may need more sophisticated instruments and more capable automation.
- The timeline of automating your system: Depending on the degree of automation, the size, and complexity of the ELISA automated system, it could take anywhere from a few hours to a few months to set up. If you need to integrate several equipment with your automation software, you might need a few days or weeks to iron out some issues and ensure they’re running smoothly.
- Run regular QC and maintenance: While proper maintenance is always a necessary practice, it’s even more important in ELISA automation. Before utilizing your automated system, ensure that all the components are functioning properly. You should also run regular QC and maintenance especially on your liquid handling systems to ensure your automated workflows function reliably.
ELISA automation provides various benefits to a lab and is easy to implement if you know its basics. You can even create a semi-automated system according to your needs.
Contact Hudson Robotics today for a range of lab instruments, robotics, and automation software.