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Science  20 Feb 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6224, pp. 887
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6224.887-a

Compound Management

The new Fluent Laboratory Automation Solution is designed to offer greater throughput and flexibility for compound management workflows. Building on the success of the Fluent cell-based assay workstation, this second application-oriented system introduces a number of new hardware and software options that simplify and improve the productivity of compound management and assay plate generation activities. The compound management workstation is ideally suited to drug discovery laboratories and centralized compound library facilities, offering a host of features intended to streamline day-to-day activities such as daughter plate generation, plate reformatting, and hit picking. Liquid handling versatility has been increased with the introduction of washable fixed tips for the instrument's Flexible Channel Arm. Complementing the existing disposable tip options to provide cost-effective reagent and compound distribution—as well as cap piercing capabilities—the new fixed tips are also available in a low-volume option, offering reliable pipetting below 0.5 μL to help minimize compound consumption and enable effective serial dilutions.

Chromatography Systems

Two new NGC Medium-Pressure Chromatography Systems, the NGC Discover and NGC Discover Pro Systems, have automated capabilities that make them ideal for advanced purification applications such as method optimization and multistep and tandem protein purification. These systems are available with a 10 mL/min pump module or with the recently released next-generation chromatography (NGC) 100 mL/min pump module, which enables flow rates up to 200 mL/min when used in combination with a mixer module. The Discover Systems further increase throughput by being able to load multiple samples and run up to 15 columns sequentially. In addition, the Discover Pro System can collect 12 large-volume fractions via its outlet valve. The Discover Systems' best feature, however, may be their ease of use, a hallmark of the NGC family of chromatography instruments. All NGC Systems feature the same modular design with interchangeable plug-and-play modules that allow researchers to scale the system according to their throughput needs.

Colony Identification System

The new software module for the ProtoCOL 3 automated colony counter makes the system the first commercial automatic microbial identification and counter of colonies cultured on CHROMagar plates. With minimal training, microbiologists can use the system to rapidly identify and enumerate all key clinical, water, and foodborne pathogens. The new ProtoCOL 3 software module ensures that the ProtoCOL 3 system can accurately identify any bacteria or yeast cultured on a CHROMagar plate in less than a minute, saving microbiologists hours of visually inspecting colonies, and manually recording results. The ProtoCOL 3 system performs these tasks by utilizing unique, patented red, blue, and green lighting to capture a life-like color image of the colonies on the plates. The new software module analyzes the image and is so sophisticated that it can distinguish between rose pink and dusty pink as well as turquoise from steel blue.

Serial Sectioning

The ATUMtome (Automatic Tape-collecting Ultramicrotome) opens the door to efficient sectioning and handling of thousands of sections that permit 3-D reconstruction of large volumes of biological materials. It also provides a unique tape collecting method that allows sections to be stored for later processing and examination. The instrument is in its early adopter phase in which scientists are helping to advance the technology with their feedback. The ATUMtome operates with an ultramicrotome and diamond knife included in the system. Typically, researchers mount resin-embedded specimens on the ultramicrotome, cutting serial sections that then float on a water surface in the diamond knife trough. The ATUMtome moves a continuous ribbon of tape through this water trough, automatically removing the serial sections in sequential order. After the sections are collected, researchers mount the tape strips onto substrates like silicon wafers or glass slides. The populated wafers are now ready for imaging with a scanning electron microscope.

Sample Storage

The Hamilton Verso is a truly modular automated storage platform which is easily configured to meet the needs of the most demanding sample management applications. The system can be scaled to fit sample capacities ranging from 100,000 to over 5 million tubes at temperatures from ambient to -20° Verso is capable of storing and processing up to 1,500 tubes and plates per hour, and allows loading and unloading of up to 70 sample racks at a time. To complete a fully automated workflow, Verso can integrate with Hamilton automated liquid handling workstations. The intuitive system allows users to easily perform most jobs in three clicks or less. Features include one-touch loading, and a job queue manager which allows users to prioritize jobs and set jobs to process overnight. Every sample is tracked at all times to maintain a complete audit trail, including their temperature logs, who accessed the sample and what function was completed.

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  • Newly offered instrumentation, apparatus, and laboratory materials of interest to researchers in all disciplines in academic, industrial, and governmental organizations are featured in this space. Emphasis is given to purpose, chief characteristics, and availabilty of products and materials. Endorsement by Science or AAAS of any products or materials mentioned is not implied. Additional information may be obtained from the manufacturer or supplier.

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