Many people now spend over 90 percent of their time indoors, making indoor air quality a key health consideration in the current climate. Air purifier units are designed to address this issue by removing particulates and aerosolized bacteria and viruses, improving the quality of the circulating air for a healthier indoor environment. With COVID-19 at the forefront of people’s minds, manufacturers of air purifying units understand the need of independent laboratory testing to validate their bioaerosol decontamination claims, providing reassurance for end users and driving product development. Andrew Dexter, Staff Scientist at ARE Labs, explained how the company fits into this process: “We offer engineering and testing services, specializing in all facets of aerosol science. We work with various commercial and government organizations, and part of our job is to test and rate industrial and residential air purifiers by challenging these with aerosolized microorganisms. This process involves periodic sampling and testing of air samples to quantify the reduction of viable microbes achieved by a given purifier unit.”
ARE Labs' testing workflow requires dilution of various compounds and reagents, as well as plating out of samples, and the company uses the VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipette to increase the throughput and accuracy of these processes. “We use the VOYAGER for applications that are otherwise tedious and time consuming,” Andrew continued. “Our protocols for detecting aerosolized microbes involve a number of repetitive pipetting actions – including mixing reagents, serial dilutions and plating out – for hundreds of dissolved air samples, which is a cumbersome and error prone task if performed manually. The VOYAGER’s unique ability to automatically adjust tip spacing is its most important feature for us. Being able to move seamlessly between different sizes of racks, and effortlessly perform tube-to-plate reformatting, is incredible. Most other multichannel pipettes have fixed spacing between tips, so can’t cope when the rack format shifts. It’s GripTip technology also ensures we have high quality tips that attach firmly in place, preventing any spillage or leaks.”
A versatile pipette
The VOYAGER electronic pipette is available in 4, 6, 8 and 12 channel versions, making sample transfers between different labware formats up to 12 times faster for a wide range of applications. “A lot of caution is required when working with multiple samples at a time, because it’s easy for errors to arise during manual processes, and this can lead to inter-operator variability. The VOYAGER helps to address these issues, and it has been easy for the whole team to adopt this technology, without needing to draw up new standard operating protocol or undertake tutorials. The user interface is self-explanatory and comprehensive, and it made the learning process interactive. The predefined protocols are very well designed, and the option to create 40 more custom programs using the simple touch wheel ensures accuracy and reproducibility. The ergonomic benefits of the VOYAGER to users, particularly in terms of preventing physical strain caused by repeated pipetting actions, further smoothed this transition.”
A good partnership
“Our regional representative from INTEGRA is very enthusiastic and responds promptly to all our queries. After using the VOYAGER, I am now keen to implement INTEGRA's PIPETBOY acu 2 pipette controller in our workflow. It’s easy to use and offers precise aliquoting for smaller tubes while maintaining sterility, which is very desirable for a high throughput laboratory. The company’s promotions are also very genuine and worthy of your time. For example, we were able to upgrade most of our old manual pipettes by exchanging them for newer, better INTEGRA versions! I like all the INTEGRA products I’ve used, and we have rarely encountered technical issues. I appreciate their cost effectiveness and utility across most laboratory applications,” Andrew concluded.