Microsynth is using INTEGRA’s MINI 96 and VIAFLO 96 handheld electronic pipettes in every step of sample preparation, in workflows ranging from nucleic acid isolation to next generation sequencing (NGS) and different types of PCR. Dr Sergey Yakushev, Head of Genetic Analysis at Microsynth, explained: “My department focuses on genetic analysis, using a range of methodologies – such as conventional PCR, sequencing, and DNA and RNA isolation – which require multiple liquid handling steps during sample preparation and analysis. We receive as many as 20,000 samples per year from our customers, including blood, tissue, pharmaceutical products and environmental substances. This high throughput is made possible with the use of multiple INTEGRA products, from single and multichannel manual pipettes to the MINI 96 and VIAFLO 96. We also have low and high volume VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipettes, which we use for multichannel pipetting between different labware formats.”
Electronic pipettes for every application
Digital PCR is an expensive method that starts with adjustment of the analyte concentration in 96 well plates, a process that requires highly precise and accurate pipetting of samples. Dr Yakushev continued: “If there is pipetting imprecision, it becomes apparent very quickly in our results and, unfortunately, increases costs in terms of both time and money, as we need to repeat all the steps again from the beginning. In qPCR, we replicate low volume samples from 96 to 384 well plates, which typically involves multiple aspiration and dispense steps. Previously, we did this using a 96 channel pipette from another manufacturer, but this didn’t match our expectations. We now use the MINI 96 for digital PCR and qPCR preparation, as well as in end-point PCR reactions and library preparation for NGS. All these applications require precise, simultaneous transfer of multiple liquid samples, and the small footprint, cost effective MINI 96 has allowed us to do exactly this. We use all the electronic features, including the defined pipetting heights, which is especially helpful when working in white, 384 well qPCR plates, where the wells are not transparent. Best of all, we get more hands-off time.”
“The heterogeneity of the samples, special buffer conditions and liquid properties in DNA and RNA isolation workflows are not always compatible with liquid handling platforms. Manual and visual control is critical, which is why we use handheld pipettes. The VIAFLO 96 combines the advantage of being able to maintain manual processing for these workflows – moving easily between plates and reservoirs – with highly precise and repeatable pipetting into all wells of a 96 well plate simultaneously. For example, in cfDNA isolation, we use the VIAFLO 96 to pipette multiple samples with different viscosities over a wide volume range, which would otherwise be difficult to program on automated systems. Being able to keep a close eye on the speed of liquid aspiration and dispensing helps avoid any loss and reduces the likelihood of poor sample recovery, ensuring that quality standards are matched, and expectations are met.”
The unmatched benefits of INTEGRA products and services
“The MINI 96 and VIAFLO 96 were purchased to upgrade the throughput and speed of liquid handling, to ensure high technical precision, workflow flexibility and comfort of lab work. What also convinced us was the quality of design – even the plastic consumables such as the GRIPTIP pipette tips it uses – and the integrated technology that makes pipetting protocols smart. We can process up to 96 samples at once with the MINI 96 and VIAFLO 96, increasing the rate of highly accurate and precise pipetting and, therefore, throughput, all while decreasing the risk of unplanned costs due to sample loss and repeat analyses. In my opinion, INTEGRA handheld electronic pipettes are impressive as they solved the complications in our lab, and I truly believe they outperform 1, 8 and 12 channel pipettes.”
“We’re also very satisfied with INTEGRA’s customer service, from the purchase and installation of the pipettes to coming on site for assistance and training. We were given a clear demonstration of how to operate and troubleshoot the equipment despite it being intuitive and everything being well presented in the manuals. Any time we had a question, we received a quick answer – INTEGRA has helped us a lot, and I love the pipettes!” Dr Yakushev concluded.