Microplate Readers and Lab Automation Possibilities from BMG LABTECH
13 Nov 2009

This article introduces why automation is key in high-throughput screening, and how BMG LABTECH has designed its instruments to be easily automated. For mid-throughput plate handling, the 50 microplate Stacker with an integrated barcode reader can be used with all of BMG LABTECH's HTS microplate readers including the PHERAstar FS, PHERAstar Plus and NEPHELOstar.

The new, top of the line HTS plate reader, the PHERAstar FS is based on the PHERAstar Plus and incorporates the following new features: Tandem Technology, which uses highly sensitive, filter based detection in all modes and an industry first, ultra-fast UV/Vis Spectrometer; on-board reagent injectors for precise kinetic measurements; unprecedented bottom reading for cell-based assays; and a dedicated UV-laser for all TR-FRET based assays. The NEPHELOstar is the world’s first and only laser-based microplate nephelometer for measuring turbidity or solubility of a sample in microplate based environments, even up to 384-well formats and is approx. thirty times more sensitive than traditional transmission readers that measure the reduction in direct light passing through a sample well.

Furthermore, BMG LABTECH microplate readers can be easily integrated into all leading robotic systems. This has led to many collaborations over the years with various robotics companies including:

• The Automation Partnership’s Asset™ HTS System integrating the PHERAstar for Kinase TR-FRET screening
• Caliper® Life Science’s Twister® robot and the PHERAstar for SNP screening
• Hamilton’s Microlab® Star with the NEPHELOstar for compound solubility screening
• HighRes Biosolutions' MicroStar Robotic arm for multifunctional screening
• CyBio’s® CyBi® Screen-Machine and the POLARstar OPTIMA for peptide inhibitor screening
• and many more.

For more complex tasks, the experienced software team will work with customers to help design any automation solution. Furthermore, all microplate readers come with the well established Reader Control and powerful MARS Data Analysis Software. MARS contains improved robotic integration capabilities with ActiveX and DDE interfaces, digital signature and FDA 21 CFR part 11 compliance as well as many automation software features that allow flexibility without any programming – the ASCII data output is the most versatile in the industry and works with most LIMS and automation platforms.

MARS also offers a wide range of data analysis allows all types of data display to visualize data output. The Standard Curve Wizard creates an easy step-by-step calculation of a standard curve and the Template Manager is an excellent tool for building complex data processing protocols. With MARS, user-defined data analysis is simply done with one click of the mouse.

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