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Microbial screening colony picker with sample tracking and plate handling

The QPix™ 400 Series Microbial Colony Pickers combine intelligent image analysis with precise automation for fast and efficient screening of large libraries. Capable of picking up to 3000 colonies per hour, it will streamline your workflow. In addition to microbial screening, the system automates several sample preparation and plate handling processes such as transfer of bacterial liquid culture and plating on agar. With a variety of data tracking and assay tools, the QPix Software streamlines the control and management of complex and iterative processes.

  • Breadth

    Identify colonies with a desired phenotype

    The QPix colony pickers support a wide variety of microorganisms and multiple selection modalities, including fluorescence intensity, blue/white selection, size and proximity, and zone of inhibition.

  • Select

    Select colonies efficiently

    A suite of organism-specific pin and agar sensor ensure efficient picking. The system delivers a picking efficiency of >98%, allowing you to walkaway with confidence.

  • Sterlity

    Maintain Sterility

    A host of sterility features are available including a UV light for sanitizing the interior of the instrument, as well as pin washing, and halogen drying of pins.


  • Organism-specific pins

    Different shape and picking area pins maximize efficiency for E. coli, phage, and yeast. Plating-specific pins ensure uniform distribution of liquid culture onto agar.

  • Multiple imaging modes

    Colonies can be picked based on pre-specified parameters using white light, fluorescence, and color. The use of filters enables applications such as blue-white colony screening.

  • Plating and Spreading

    Automated plating and streaking of 96 samples can be done in 30 minutes, providing greater walk-away time.

  • Replication, grid and hit picking

    Automated plate handling and tracking streamlines downstream assay and sample management. QPix colony pickers provides flexible plate replication, gridding, and hit-picking capabilities.

  • Agar sensing

    Ultrasonic agar height sensor detects differences in height resulting from variable pouring volume enabling maximum picking efficiency.

  • Scalable automation options*

    The QPix HT model is a robot compatible solution with a modular deck. The Advanced Workflow Engineering Solutions Team can tailor a colony picker with a variety of custom services.

*Price, time to deliver and specifications will vary based on mutually agreed technical requirements. Solution requirements may cause adjustment to standard performance.

Applications of QPix 400 Series Microbial Colony Pickers

  • Antibiotic Zone of Inhibition

    Use of QPix Software for Antibiotic Zone

    The effectiveness of an antibiotic-producing bacterial strain on a target bacterial strain can be measured by the size of the clearing zone it produces on a lawn of bacteria. QPix Software allows you to rapidly identify, rank, and pick microbial colonies producing clearing zones. Intelligent image analysis enables measurement of clearing zones within a lawn and ranking based on colony size, halo diameter, and compactness.


    Detection of Biofuels in QPix Colony Pickers

    One of the most prominent alternative energy resources is biodiesel, an energy-rich portable fuel mainly composed of triacylglycerols. Biodiesel production from lipid producing microbial systems involves screening thousands of clones through a multitude of tests such as bicinchoninic acid (BCA) assays, optical density measurements, and gas chromatography assays. QPix colony pickers automate the task of colony picking, a laborious and error-prone process, effectively shortening timelines to find suitable candidates.

    Read Application Note 

  • Blue-White Screening

    QPix 400 Blue-White Screening

    Screening of bacterial transformants that contain recombinant plasmids with cloned gene inserts is an essential step in molecular cloning. A colorimetric reporter method called “blue-white screening” allows convenient identification of recombinant and non-recombinant colonies based on color. QPix colony pickers offer an automated solution especially designed for accurate blue-white colorimetric screening using white light imaging for effective monitoring of transformation efficiency. Other colorimetric approaches such as “red-white screening” can also be implemented on the systems. 

    Read Application Note 

    DNA Sequencing

    QPix DNA Sequencing

    Sequencing is the reading of the precise order of adenine (A) guanine (G) cytosine (C) and thymine (T) nucleotides within a molecule of DNA. Shotgun sequencing is a method whereby DNA is fragmented into one kilobase pieces, are then sub-cloned into circular plasmids, and transformed into bacteria. Automated colony picking is essential for increased throughput and plasmid isolation for sequencing. QPix colony pickers are renown for reliability and accuracy, and were used by many sequencing centers during the Human Genome Project. Many areas of research, such as vaccine development, continue to utilize traditional sequencing techniques.

    Read Application Note 

  • Phage Display

    Qpix Colony Pickers Phage Display Technique

    Phage Display is a technique to enable the study of protein, peptide or DNA interaction with a target protein. This molecular tool enables the discovery of high-affinity binders by using bacteriophages to present a target protein on the exterior of the viral coat, while containing the DNA encoding the target protein inside the viral coat. The resultant displaying phages can be screened for binding against a library of peptides or proteins in a high throughput fashion. QPix colony pickers can be used to automate inoculation, plating, spreading and picking in a Phage Display workflow.  

    Protein Evolution

    Microbial Colony Pickers Protein Evolution

    Protein evolution describes the changes over time in protein shape, function, and composition. Directed evolution of proteins has proven to be an effective strategy for altering or ameliorating the activity of macromolecules for industrial, research, and therapeutic applications. With multiple fluorescent filters, the system is compatible with a wide range of fluorescent cloning vectors. This enables QPix colony pickers to reveal unique information about individual colonies when studying protein folding, enzyme evolution, and protein localization. This includes searching for transformation markers and screening for mutations.

Specifications & Options of QPix 400 Series Microbial Colony Pickers

Resources of QPix 400 Series Microbial Colony Pickers

Videos & Webinars
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