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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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

Features

  • Efficient Icon

    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.

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    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.

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    Plating and Spreading

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

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    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.

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    Agar sensing

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

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    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.

    Biofuels

    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 

  • Monoclonal Antibodies (mAbs)

    Monoclonal Antibodies (mAbs)

    Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) originate from one unique parent cell, thus binding only to a single epitope. Monoclonal antibody discovery typically refers to the screening and identification of specific antibodies that target a specific epitope for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, like the coronavirus for COVID-19.

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    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.  

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  • 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.

    Synthetic Biology

    Synthetic Biology

    Synthetic biology is a broad term that refers to the manipulation of genetic pathways to harness the power of existing biological systems in novel ways (often to manufacture molecules or proteins). Synthetic biology applies principles that are derived from engineering, specifically design-build-test-learn cycles, to biological systems. By leveraging high-throughput workflows, synthetic biologists can accelerate this process.

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Specifications & Options of QPix 400 Series Microbial Colony Pickers

Resources of QPix 400 Series Microbial Colony Pickers

Presentations
Videos & Webinars
Automating Molecular Cloning and Strain Engineering

Tips to automating molecular cloning and strain engineering applications

QPix Demo video

QPix Demo video

Edinburgh Genome Foundry

See the QPix in action at the Edinburgh Genome Foundry

Antigen / Immunogen Discovery and Optimization

Immunology and Vaccine Development Workflow

SynBioBeta - QPix Panel Discussion 2020

SynBioBeta - QPix Panel Discussion 2020

Plaque Picking

Plaque Picking

Metagenomic Phylogenetic Analysis

Synthetic Metagenomics: Converting Digital Information Back to Biology

QPix 400

QPix 400

  • Citation
    Dated: Oct 28, 2014
    Publication Name: Front. Microbiol

    Impact of interspecific interactions on antimicrobial activity among soil bacteria

    Certain bacterial species produce antimicrobial compounds only in the presence of a competing species. However, little is known on the frequency of interaction-mediated induction of antibiotic compound production in natural communities of soil bacteria. Here we developed a high-throughput method to screen for the production of antimicrobial… View more

    Certain bacterial species produce antimicrobial compounds only in the presence of a competing species. However, little is known on the frequency of interaction-mediated induction of antibiotic compound production in natural communities of soil bacteria. Here we developed a high-throughput method to screen for the production of antimicrobial activity by monocultures and pair-wise combinations of 146 phylogenetically different bacteria isolated from similar soil habitats. Growth responses of two human pathogenic model organisms, Escherichia coli WA321 and Staphylococcus aureus 533R4, were used to monitor antimicrobial activity. From all isolates, 33% showed antimicrobial activity only in monoculture and 42% showed activity only when tested in interactions. More bacterial isolates were active against S. aureus than against E. coli. The frequency of interaction-mediated induction of antimicrobial activity was 6% (154 interactions out of 2798) indicating that only a limited set of species combinations showed such activity. The screening revealed also interaction-mediated suppression of antimicrobial activity for 22% of all combinations tested. Whereas all patterns of antimicrobial activity (non-induced production, induced production and suppression) were seen for various bacterial classes, interaction-mediated induction of antimicrobial activity was more frequent for combinations of Flavobacteria and alpha- Proteobacteria. The results of our study give a first indication on the frequency of interference competitive interactions in natural soil bacterial communities which may forms a basis for selection of bacterial groups that are promising for the discovery of novel, cryptic antibiotics.

    Contributors: Olaf Tyc, Marlies van den Berg, Saskia Gerards, Johannes A. van Veen, Jos M. Raaijmakers, Wietse de Boer, and Paolina Garbeva  
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  • Citation
    Dated: Mar 19, 2004
    Publication Name: The Journal of Biological Chemistry

    Improved Catalytic Efficiency and Active Site Modification of 1,4-β-D-Glucan Glucohydrolase A from Thermotoga neapolitana by Directed Evolution*

    Thermotoga neapolitana 1,4-β-D-glucan glucohydrolase A preferentially hydrolyzes cello-oligomers, such as cellotetraose, releasing single glucose moieties from the reducing end of the cello-oligosaccharide chain. Using directed evolution techniques of error-prone PCR and mutant library screening, a variant glucan glucohydrolase has been isolated… View more

    Thermotoga neapolitana 1,4-β-D-glucan glucohydrolase A preferentially hydrolyzes cello-oligomers, such as cellotetraose, releasing single glucose moieties from the reducing end of the cello-oligosaccharide chain. Using directed evolution techniques of error-prone PCR and mutant library screening, a variant glucan glucohydrolase has been isolated that hydrolyzes the disaccharide, cellobiose, at a 31% greater rate than its wild type (WT) predecessor. The mutant library, expressed in Escherichia coli, was screened at 85 °C for increased hydrolysis of cellobiose, a native substrate rather than a chromogenic analog, using a continuous, thermostable coupled enzyme assay. The Vmax for the mutant was 108 ± 3 units mg-1, whereas that of the WT was 75 ± 2 units mg-1. The Km for both proteins was nearly the same. The kcat for the new enzyme increased by 31% and its catalytic efficiency (kcat/Km) for cellobiose also rose by 31% as compared with the parent. The nucleotide sequence of two positive clones and two null clones identified 11 single base shifts. The nucleotide transition in the most active clone caused an isoleucine to threonine amino acid substitution at position 170. Structural models for I170T and WT proteins were derived by sequence homology with Protein Data Bank code 1BGA from Paenibacillus polymyxa. Analysis of the WT and I170T model structures indicated that the substitution in the mutant enzyme repositioned the conserved catalytic residue Asn-163 and reconfigured entry to the active site.

    Contributors: James K. McCarthy, Aleksandra Uzelac, Diane F. Davis and Douglas E. Eveleigh  
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  • Citation
    Dated: Aug 21, 2003
    Publication Name: the plant journal

    The transcriptional response of Arabidopsis to genotoxic stress – a high‐density colony array study (HDCA)

    A genome‐wide transcription profiling of Arabidopsis upon genotoxic stress has been performed using a high‐density colony array (HDCA). The array was based on a library of 27 000 cDNA clones derived from Arabidopsis cells challenged with bleomycin plus mitomycin C. The array covers more than 10 000 individual genes (corresponding to at least 40%… View more

    A genome‐wide transcription profiling of Arabidopsis upon genotoxic stress has been performed using a high‐density colony array (HDCA). The array was based on a library of 27 000 cDNA clones derived from Arabidopsis cells challenged with bleomycin plus mitomycin C. The array covers more than 10 000 individual genes (corresponding to at least 40% of Arabidopsis genes). After hybridisation of the HDCA with labelled cDNA probes obtained from genotoxin‐treated (bleomycin plus mitomycin C, 6 h) and untreated seedlings, 39 genes revealed an increased and 24 genes a decreased expression among the 3200 highly expressed clones (representing approximately 1200 individual genes because of redundancy of the cDNA library). Of the 4900 clones with a low transcriptional level, the expression of 500 clones was found to be altered and 57 genes with increased and 22 genes with decreased expression were identified by sequence analysis of 135 identified clones. The HDCA results were validated by real‐time PCR analysis. For about 80% of genes (34 out of 42), alteration in expression was confirmed, indicating the reliability of the HDCA for transcription profiling. DNA damage and stress‐responsive genes encoding, for instance transcription factors (myb protein and WRKY1), the ribonucleotide reductase small subunit (RNR2), thymidine kinase (TK), an AAA‐type ATPase, the small subunit of a DNA polymerase and a calmodulin‐like protein were found to be strongly upregulated. Also, several genes involved in cell cycle regulation revealed significant alteration in transcription, as detected by real‐time PCR analysis, suggesting disturbance of cell cycle progression by mutagen treatment.

    Contributors: I‐Peng Chen, Urs Haehnel, Lothar Altschmied, Ingo Schubert, Holger Puchta  
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