Multichannel pipettes have become an indispensable liquid handling tool for biochemical and molecular biology assays in life science laboratories over the last decades. This demand is fuelled by the need to increase productivity due to reasons like growing sample numbers, faster sample processing and analysis as well as the shareholder demands of running the business most profitably.
A new generation of adjustable spacing pipettes is now available that addresses the need for simple and rapid sample reformatting. In principle these innovative liquid handling tools provide all the features of a standard electronic multichannel pipette, but beneficially also allow the user to program a desired spacing between wells, tubes or gel pockets. While pipetting, users can now automatically alter the spacing between the pipette tips with a simple press of a button, which allows sample transfer between different labware as easily as between labware of the same format.
Adjustable tip spacing – in action
An application that demonstrates the benefits from adjustable tip spacing is the loading of an agarose gel from a PCR plate. With an adjustable spacing pipette, users can now load pipette tips from the tip rack, press a button to adjust to 9.0mm spacing for the PCR plate, aspirate the sample volume needed, press the button a second time to adjust tip spacing for example to 4.5mm of the agarose gel’s sample wells spacing and dispense the samples into the wells. Using an eight channel 12.5uL INTEGRA Voyager Multichannel Pipettor, 2uL of sample can be added to eight wells of an agarose gel in approximately 17 seconds. This includes loading tips, aspirating sample, dispensing to the gel box and ejecting tips. The same process takes over a minute with a single channel pipette. An example of the gel loading application with an INTEGRA Voyager pipette can be viewed at Youtube.
The productivity benefits of multichannel versus single channel pipetting are widely documented. The advent of adjustable spacing multichannel pipetting, as available in the INTEGRA Viaflo Voyager, presents labs with a valuable new tool for accelerating tasks where samples need reformatting and at the same time increasing precision, reliability and comfort of the pipetting procedure. The Voyager Multichannel Pipette is proving itself to be an ideal liquid handling tool that bridges the gap between time consuming single channel transfers and the considerable investment required to purchase an automated multichannel liquid handling system.
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