Friday, August 17, 2012

Focus On: Cell-Based Microplate Assays


Microplate readers have evolved over the years to accommodate many different kinds of microplate based assays. Previously microplate readers were mainly found in HTS or well-funded laboratories, but now they have become a necessary piece of equipment for any new start up lab. Used to study simple homogeneous absorbance, luminescence, or fluorescence based experiments, most microplate readers are now multimode instruments that can also measure complex, heterogeneous cell-based assays. Being able to measure nanoliter volumes and up to thousands of samples in one plate, microplate readers allow for all manner of reproducible, cell-based assays to be done in only minutes.

To properly study cell-based assays on a microplate reader, several accessories or features are needed to obtain the optimal results. BMG LABTECH has engineered its different microplate readers to accommodate all cell-based assays with several different features, these include:

  • Direct Optic Bottom Reading on the PHERAstar FS enhances sensitivity – since all cell-based are read from the microplate bottom so that a cover can be used to prevent contamination and evaporation, this feature greatly enhances the sensitivity for bottom reading assays. 
  • Atmospheric Control Unit (ACU) – this feature regulates both O2 and CO2 within the microplate reader chamber to allow the best conditions for cellular growth. 
  • Injectors or a Micropipettor – these two features allow reagents to be added to each well to stimulate cell-based assays such as calcium or ion flux. 
  • Well Scanning and Orbital Averaging – these features allow for better measurements of cell-based assays that are not evenly distributed throughout the well.
  • Incubation and Shaking – Temperature control provides the optimal environment for cellular growth, while shaking helps to prevent cell clumping or helps with mixing of reagents.

These are some of the extensive features on BMG LABTECH microplate readers that help to optimize cell-based and other assays on your microplate reader.

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