NOMAD Bioscience is using INTEGRA’s VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipette in workflows for the engineering of plant virus-based expression vectors, and the transient modification of plants for biotechnology applications. The company’s approach relies on using green plants as hosts for the production of large quantities of proteins of interest. Expression vectors are transiently delivered to plants of Nicotiana benthamiana – a close relative of tobacco – via agrobacterium-mediated transformation, either through injecting an agrobacteria solution into the leaf, or simply spraying it onto the leaves.
The study of antimicrobial bacteriocins produced by agrobacteria within host plants is a crucial research area for NOMAD, and the company works with various bacteria, including Klebsiella, Pseudomonas, Clostridia, Escherichia coli and Salmonella. Research scientist Birgit Koch explained: “My research focuses on molecular cloning to generate vectors that are transferred from agrobacteria into the plant. This allows expression of the target bacteriocin peptides in the plant, which is followed by peptide purification downstream studies to investigate the antimicrobial activities of the bacteriocins that are obtained. Much of this work is based on the same fundamental workflows, which include the preparation and dispensing of media and gels. These activities are now performed far more precisely and efficiently using the VOYAGER.”
VOYAGER to the rescue
The VOYAGER electronic pipette allows the NOMAD team to efficiently pipette volumes between 5 and 125 µl for up to eight channels simultaneously, reducing the number of transfer steps required. Birgit continued: “Antimicrobial activity testing is where the VOYAGER has helped the most, to decrease the transfer steps. We do a ‘spot-on-lawn’ assay where we pipette drops of our peptide solutions onto bacteria grown on agar gel in square petri dishes (12 x 12 cm) and, if the bacteria are killed, then we know our bacteriocins are active. We also do it the other way around, pipetting bacteria onto an agar containing the bacteriocin, to see whether they grow. I used to work a lot with manual single and multichannel pipettes, and it would take me 40 minutes to finish a plate for an activity assay. Now, with the VOYAGER, I’m done within 10 minutes! I also use the VOYAGER during cloning – to apply samples to the agarose gel – as well as for polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis to visualize the purified products. Electronic pipetting is both time saving and reliable, as it eliminates the significant errors typical with manual pipetting to make aspirating and dispensing more accurate. This enhances results and increases productivity in the lab.”
“The main factor for us choosing the VOYAGER was the automatic adjustment of the tip spacing at the push of a button. INTEGRA is the only company that offers pipettes with this feature, and the VOYAGER is intuitive and easy to use. The tight fit of the GripTip pipette tips, which virtually eliminates the risk of liquid dripping, is also important for us. The company’s customer service is also excellent – really friendly, courteous and fast. INTEGRA gave us great advice, and helped us to choose the right pipettes by exploring what we actually needed them for, and what our objectives were. We’ve certainly not been disappointed,” Birgit concluded.