Colony picking is a very labor-intensive task that is generally performed during cloning protocols, alongside additional upstream and downstream processes. Manual colony picking is both slow and tedious. Automation makes the process more consistent and reliable, as well as considerably faster, enabling thousands of colonies to be picked per hour.
Until recently, the only available industrial colony pickers were single-task and high-cost standalone instruments, and in many laboratories colony picking was not integrated with upstream or downstream automation systems. This resulted in periods of low productivity, when laboratory staff was waiting for a procedure to finish.
The introduction of integrated colony pickers on liquid-handling platforms has revolutionized gene cloning and colony picking workflows in the laboratory, allowing time-efficient and error-free cloning processes and increasing the annual production of clones.
Tecan and SciRobotics have joined forces to create just such a system, a colony picker integrated onto a liquid-handling platform.
SciRobotics’ Pickolo™ colony picker—a bacteria colony-picking solution capable of automated picking of up to 800 colonies per hour—can be quickly and easily installed onto Tecan Freedom EVO® liquid-handling platforms (Figure). The Pickolo’s software is fully interfaced with Tecan’s Freedom EVOware® software to create a cost-effective, off-the-shelf solution.
High-resolution digital-imaging technology and flexible, easy-to-use analysis software allow individual colonies to be selected based on user-defined criteria—including size, shape, and color—and can be extended to fluorescence-based applications with the addition of a Tecan detection instrument.