Unobstructed fluid paths in liquid handling instruments are critical to the optimal performance of the instrument. Microplate washers are especially susceptible to partially or fully clogged dispense and aspirate tubes from salt and protein buildup, even when routine maintenance is performed. Oftentimes, blocked wells go unnoticed until the assay fails and the data is rendered inaccurate, costing time and money. BioTek’s patented* Verify technology is a built-in module that tests the performance of washer dispense and aspiration cycles and alerts users to the specific location of any suspected clog. This allows the blockage to be identified and resolved before the next assay is run. The ability to check for blockages prior to a run is ideal not only for benchtop applications, but especially when the washer is integrated into a large automated system when blockages can cause significant downtime.
The Verify module is built-in above the manifold as seen in the drawing. The Verify probe (seen in the close-up, right) sends ultrasonic waves into a microplate to determine the fluid volumes in each well following dispense and aspirate cycles.
BioTek 405™ Microplate Washers equipped with Verify clog detection technology include a pre-programmed Quality Control routine for periodic testing of each individual dispense and aspiration tube’s function. The QC protocol fills microplate wells and confirms their fluid levels using an integrated distance sensor. Microplate wells are then aspirated, and again the fluid levels are measured to confirm fluid has been evacuated. Results are displayed on the 405 TS screen or in the LHC software.
The 405 Touch display provides clear visual results; Green wells indicate passed and red wells indicate a failure. The results also show at which step that the test failed. In the window above, the wells B3, G3 and H3 failed during the aspirate step 5.
Based on the pass or fail result, the user can clean the manifold, using the patented Ultrasonic Advantage manifold cleaning system. Verify can be run a second time to ensure the blockage is cleared and the washer is ready for use.
Verify’s automated sensing routine can be easily run onboard the 405 TS or through LHC software for use with the 405 LS washer, or when the washer is integrated into an automated system.
The graph shows an initial 10 runs of Verify, with about 4% CV average. The washer is then allowed to sit idle for about 3 hrs, filled with casein protein. Verify is then run again for 5 runs, each failing with a very high % CV, indicating blockage of aspirate and dispense tubes. The 405 is cleaned using the autoclean/Ultrasonic Advantage maintenance procedure (including Tergazyme) for 1 hr. After the cleaning, Verify confirms that the average % CV is again 4% or lower over the next several runs.
- Automates aspirate or dispense clog detection
- Provides clear visual pass/fail results
- Reduced failed assay incidents caused by blockages
- Built-in design requires no additional bench top space
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