Automated Microbiology

Scientists at the Environmental Research Institute at University College Cork, Ireland, have developed a robotic pipeline for bacterial genetics.

The robotic systems minimize human error, perform time-consuming mundane work and free scientists to focus on their research. Old collections of bacterial have been barcoded, transferred to robot-friendly tubes and are tracked automatically through the pipeline, creating a pen- and paper-free environment. This is the future of microbiology.

This is an example for a fully automated microbiology process operated over a 10 day cycle.

Bacteria samples are stored in 2D barcoded tubes for fully automated sample preparation and analysis.

Day 1: preparing for sample growth
The bacteria sample is received, the tube is labelled and the sample is transferred to growth medium on a Petri dish.
Day 2: the bacterial colonies have grown
After 24 hours the bacteria have grown in the Petri dish.
Day 2: the colonies are transferred
The bacterial colonies are transferred to a 2D barcoded tube and 96 tubes are stored in a 1D barcoded rack.
Day 3: incubate and store
The rack of bacteria samples is incubated for 24 hours and then transferred to a -180°C store.
Day 4: colony sub-cultivation
Rack is removed from the store, the barcode is read and the samples are replicated on a PAA/FluidX automated workcell.
Day 5: isolate & quantify DNA
The tube of samples are delidded, the DNA extracted and quantified.
Day 6: gene amplification
The samples are prepared for gene amplification and then placed on a PCR instrument.
Day 7: gene sequencing
The sample are prepared for and set for gene sequencing.
Day 10: results
The results are returned and analysed.