TTP mosquito nanolitre liquid handler ‘bulks up’

By Dr Matt Wilkinson

- Last updated on GMT

TTP LabTech has transformed its ‘mosquito’ nanolitre liquid handler into a highly flexible system for preparing microplates for high throughput (HT) screening applications.

The addition of a new bulk dispenser head module enables bulk reagent dispensing from eight independent channels so that researchers can prepare entire assays on a single instrument, removing the need for bulk liquid handling devices and automation systems to transfer microplates between the two.

The new module can be retrofitted to mosquito instruments in the field by a TTP engineer.

TTP LabTech group has gained a reputation for developing cutting edge laboratory robotics and instrumentation for use in the pharmaceutical and life science laboratories.

The company’s innovative spirit has been recognised in the past when its ChemScan RDI, developed and manufactured for Chemunex, won a Queen's Award for Technological Achievement in 1999.

This is now been followed up with the TTP Group being awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade in recognition of the company’s annual export revenue of over £20m (€25m).

The mosquito is a compact nanolitre liquid handling device that makes use of a continuous reel of disposable positive displacement micropipettes that guarantees no sample carry over from one disposable pipette to the next.

The mosquito is available in three formats: the HTS, which is designed for high throughput screening applications such as assay plate preparation or serial dilutions; the Crystal, an automated protein crystallography setups and additive screening; and the X1, a single tip version that offers precision sampling of individual sample wells.

According to TTP LabTech’s Joby Jenkins, the new module will decrease the delay for bulk solvent and media dispensation to the microwell plates after the addition of reagents using the mosquito’s nanolitre micropipettes. This minimises the potential for solvent evaporation and reagent crystallisation in between various addition steps which can disrupt assay results.

While it may be tempting to add the bulk solvents first, Jenkins told that adding the bulk liquids in after the nanolitre additions provides a far greater level of mixing than if the nanolitre droplets of reagents are added second.

This mixing is especially important if the solvents used to dissolve the different components are not fully miscible as inefficient mixing can lead to reagents being compartmentalised in separate solvent phases.

“The new bulk dispenser module enables the mosquito to prepare predilution plates faster and more easily than any other method currently available,”​ said Jenkins.

“These are typically used during secondary screening to confirm the activity of lead compounds and determine target specificity.”

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