Image of bacteria and lab robot for article on colony picking.
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Published On: January 10th, 2023Categories: Articles, Colony Picking

Colony picking refers to the selecting and inoculating of a single bacterial colony from a cultured sample on a plate. Colony picking is a pre-processing step in many lab procedures, from DNA extraction to next gen sequencing. Colony picking robots are machines that first use image processing to select a colony with the desired characteristics, then use a robotic control arm to pick and transfer a colony to a new plate. Colony picking robots can increase inoculation rates, reduce error, and increase throughput. So how can your lab evaluate which colony picking robot is best for your needs? This article will detail the characteristics to look for in a colony picking robot.

Sample Type

First, consider the desired colony picking sample type. Colony picking is often used for a sample of many cells, but single-cell colony picking applications have recently gained traction. Single-cell colony picking is useful in studying non-uniform samples, such as cancerous growth. Single cell colony picking is also commonly used for synthetic biology applications, where choosing a specific cell to modify can influence experiment results. Choose a colony picking robot that can pick the right sample type for your procedure.

Accuracy, Precision and Inoculation

Next, look for colony picking robots with the accuracy, precision and inoculation rate your application requires. Inoculation rates over 99% will reduce wasted material. Image processing software plays a huge role in accuracy and precision. One of the benefits of image processing software is that you can customize the parameters for colony picking. Colony picking robots that give you more freedom to customize the selection process will likely yield better results.

Size, Speed and Capacity

The size, speed, and capacity of a colony picking robot are other factors to analyze. Does your lab have space constraints that limit what will fit in your workstation? Conversely, does your lab frequently run high-throughput experiments that would benefit from a high-capacity colony picking robot? If your colony picking robot needs to be housed in an anaerobic chamber, that will influence the size constraints. Whether you need a colony picker that holds hundreds or dozens of plates, there is an option for your lab.

Equipment Compatibility

Compatibility is a crucial factor to consider when selecting a colony picking robot. A colony picking robot that works with your preferred plate types, microplate handlers, and liquid handlers will be highly valuable in automating lab protocols. In addition, colony picking robot that has add-on options like additional plate capacity that would allow your lab to scale up operations as your budget expands is a resourceful choice.


Let’s review the roadmap you have for choosing a colony picking robot. You’ve considered the sample type, the capacity, and compatibility with your existing equipments. You’ve looked at the accuracy and inoculation rate of the colony picker. Specialized equipment only goes so far without support and customer service from knowledgeable technicians.

Contact Hudson Robotics for superior support and service from technical specialists to help your lab get the most out of your tools.