Pseudomonas is a bacterium that commonly infects individuals with lung conditions, such as cystic fibrosis. It produces and secretes a siderophore – a molecule which binds and transports iron in microorganisms. Although not every cell produces the molecule, non-producer cells are able to use siderophores produced by other organisms for their own benefit, giving rise to complicated population dynamics.
Alexandre Figueiredo, a PhD student in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at the University explained: “We have recently completed an evolutionary experiment on Pseudomonas aeruginosa, to understand how this siderophore enhances the ability of Pseudomonas to infect other organisms, and how different environmental conditions affect the production of this compound. To do this, we started with homogenous populations, and cultured them in different environmental conditions to study the appearance of non-producers over time. The culture media needed changing frequently – every two days for seven months – and so we required a system to make this workflow more efficient. I opted for the VIAFLO 96/384 after seeing my colleagues using it successfully for high throughput screening applications.”
The VIAFLO 96/384 is handheld, electronic pipette, which enables fast and precise transfer of up to 96 or 384 samples simultaneously, increasing pipetting throughput and reproducibility, and at a fraction of the cost of a fully automated liquid handling system. Alexandre continued: “The VIAFLO 96/384 was able to streamline the workflow for filling plates with sterilized media, conducting serial transfers, diluting cell populations and transferring cultures regularly. It saved us so much time; it only took one to two hours to do everything, compared to six to eight hours manually. We also used the automated mixing feature, which saved further time, increasing our efficiency, and importantly, standardized our method, because manual mixing procedures are never as reproducible. Overall, the system is very intuitive, and you can easily load the pipette tips on and off – I think it’s very well designed,” concluded Alex.