High-Throughput Screening: ROTOR+ PIXL

 

Scale up your screening throughput to yield >60-fold* reductions in cost and time using the microbial high-throughput screening powerhouses: ROTOR+ and PIXL. Automate precision colony transfer at ultra-high densities.

These robots are absurdly versatile – natively compatible with yeast, bacteria, fungi, algae, and that weird unidentified filamentous orange organism that you isolated from the soil.

*vs screening in 96-well plates

WHY SCREEN ON AGAR RATHER THAN LIQUID?

Screening on agar is extremely advantageous due to costs saved in media, plates and time. There is simply way more space to deposit your samples on a $2 agar PlusPlate, without those pesky wells getting in the way.

Not used to screening on agar? Whether screening at 96 or 6144-density, colony size can be used as an accurate proxy to estimate colony fitness, similar to measuring the Optical Density of cells in liquid media.

Overview

Two robots on one webpage? What is this sorcery? Simply speaking: ROTOR+ screens hundreds or thousands of colonies at once; PIXL enables you to filter and pick individual hits of interest and generate new libraries. You can buy ROTOR+ and PIXL separately, but it’s like salt without pepper, Bonnie without Clyde, these two robots were made for each other.

ROTOR+ uses a robotic arm and sterile, ready-to-use replica plating pads, called RePads, to pick up arrayed colonies from solid or liquid culture plates. The robotic arm then moves to a new ‘target’ plate and deposits the cells.

Capable of pinning nearly a million colonies per hour, ROTOR+ can complete a screen faster than any liquid handler. It is the highest throughput colony manipulation robot in the world (by a considerable margin). And amazingly, it does this whilst maintaining a >99% transfer efficiency.

ROTOR+ enables large-scale microbial functional and chemical genomic studies with incredible accuracy and reliability. ROTORs have been cited in 298 papers.

PIXL automates high-resolution colony imaging, detection, selection, and picking. Transfer of microbial colonies is achieved using the freshly-cut end of a sterile polymer reel, called PickupLine. Like ROTOR+, this eliminates the requirement for extensive washing cycles and the associated chance of contamination. With a transfer efficiency >99% you can be confident that PIXL will not miss any of your colonies, check out the efficiency report.

Pick to and from agar and liquid in a variety of plate types. Customise your workflow with plate sectoring. Scrape, stir, and adjust mixing profiles to optimise transfer of the most tenacious organisms. Turn on its fluorescent LEDs and PIXL will quantify and allow selection for wtGFP, sfGFP, mCherry, tagBFP, Venus and many other fluorescent markers. Together, the power and flexibility of ROTOR+ and PIXL is unmatched.

“I can’t speak highly enough about these two instruments. We have had them up and running for 6 months in our lab, and together, they have been a game-changer in terms of throughput and reproducibility.”

Prof. Kyle Lauersen, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.


 

What can I use ROTOR+ PIXL FOR?

  • Carrying out high-throughput antibiotic, drug and chemical sensitivity screens and isolating the resistant clones.
  • Filter, pick, streak, and optimise interesting environmental isolates or microbiota. 
  • Duplicate, scale up, and back up large libraries of yeast, fungi, bacteria and algae.
  • Re-array groups, or cherry pick individual colonies from large microbial arrays.
  • Re-plate cells from liquid to agar and vice versa.
  • Replicate, mate, and re-array from single or multiple source plates at densities of 96, 384, 1536 and 6144. See examples of ROTOR+ Pinning Arrays here.
  • Synthetic Genetic Array (SGA), Chemical Genomics, Yeast 2-hybrid, and other cell-based screening assays.
  • Condense or expand your library for smart storage.
  • Select fluorescent markers.

 



Aguiar-Cervera, J.E., Delneri, D.Severn, O. A high-throughput screening method for the discovery of Saccharomyces and non-Saccharomyces yeasts with potential in the brewing industryEng. Biol1– 9 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1049/enb2.12013


 

PIXL Pick-up Line

Singer Instruments have over thirty years of precision microbial cell and colony picking experience. Whether colony picking from high-density E. coli arrays, or tetrad dissection with single yeast spores, Singer Instruments are trusted by thousands of labs worldwide. We have learnt a lot about colony picking over the years, and have used this experience to develop PickupLine™.

PickupLine™ is a brand new tip technology made from 1mmø bespoke polymer extrusion, available in sterile 200m reels. Load a single reel into PIXL to form up to 33,000 sterile, disposable tips. Its cutting-characteristics allow PIXL’s precision blade to produce a coarse tip, perfect for picking bacteria and fungal colonies.

Discounts are available when ordering multiple reels.

  • Select up to 33,000 colonies with each PickupLine™
  • Sterile
  • Coarse tips for microbial colony picking

ROTOR HDA High-throughput Screening Robot Online Demonstration


ROTOR+
PIXL
TOGETHER
Source / target plate options Multiwell and Deepwell plates (96 and 384 density) RectangularSBS plates (96 , 384, 1536 and 6144 density) Multiwell and Deepwell plates (96 and 384 density) Rectangular SBS plates (96, 384, density) PCR plate (96 and 384 density) Source only:Petri dishes (90mm, 150mm) Square plate (120mm) All
Random colony picking No Yes Pick randomly distributed (or arrayed) colonies by filtering for size, circularity, proximity, colour, and other measurements.
Cherry picking hits Yes No Pick randomly distributed (or arrayed) colonies by filtering for size, circularity, proximity, colour, and other measurements.
High-density pinning Yes No Pick colonies of interest to 96 or 384 targets using PIXL and upscale the density to 1534 or 6144 using ROTOR+.
Condensing your library Yes No Pin up to 6144 colonies on each plate. Meaning use >60x fewer plates per screen:
Gain >60x more storage space in your lab; >60x cost reduction on expensive reagents.
Sector plates Yes No Sectoring your plates enables you to: Categorise groups of clones, isolates or mutant strains on a single plate;
Experiment using different antibiotic, antimicrobial or chemical treatments on the same plate.
Fluorescence detection No Yes
GFP, sGFP, RFP, BFP, YFP, and Venus. Working with another fluorescent marker? Contact us to see if your fluorescent marker is supported.
Screen for fluorescent colonies based on intensity.
Streak or plate cells to isolate single colonies Yes
5×5, 7×7 and 9×9 protocols are supported.
Yes
7×7 protocol only.
Both ROTOR+ and PIXL support streaking from a liquid or agar source. This protocol automates high-throughput plating of microbial organisms, allowing researchers to plate 96 samples onto one target plate efficiently.
Agar piercing Yes No As default both robots are designed to detect the agar surface on every pick. This feature may be disabled to pick subsurface colonies or hyphae.

 


Related Applications and Citations

ROTOR+ Pads & Plates

FAQS

WHAT FORMAT SOURCE PLATES DOES PIXL TAKE?

PIXL accepts Petri dishes (90mm, 120mm) as well as rectangular plates, multiwell plates (at the densities 6, 12 ,24 ,48, 96 and 384) and 120mm square plates.

Using PIXL’s re-array mode custom plate formats can be loaded; we have supported synthetic biologists wishing to load MALDI-TOF slides for example. We love creative applications – get in touch with your novel idea.

WHAT FORMAT TARGET PLATES DOES PIXL TAKE?

As standard, PIXL pins onto agar or into liquid, on SBS-format rectangular plates, including 96 and 384 PCR and multiwell plates — both shallow and deep.

ARE  ROTOR+ PIXL EASY TO USE?

Absolutely! ROTOR+ and PIXL are designed so that anyone can operate them in a matter of minutes! No need for a dedicated technician, laborious calibration and maintenance, or hours of training; our simple, touchscreen software guides you through your chosen protocol with ease. You can truly learn 90% of the functionality in <10 minutes.

 

How many colonies can I array on a plate?

ROTOR+ can array as many as 6,144 colonies on a single PlusPlate (actually there is a paper proving it can pin to 24,576!) ROTOR+ also supports arraying at 96, 384, 768, and 1,536 densities. Multiple low-density plates may be combined into fewer high-density plates by offsetting the pins in a square matrix.

CAN PIXL ROTOR+ BE INTEGRATED INTO A LARGER WORKFLOW?

We are currently working with integration partners to accommodate robotic arms, stackers and hotels for Bioengineering, Industrial Microbiology, Food and AgriTech, Microbiota, Microbial identification, Synthetic Biology and more. Contact us to find out more.

HOW FAST IS ROTOR+?

ROTOR+ uses disposable plastic pin pads, which removes the need for lengthy washing and sterilisation cycles between pinning. The robotic arm always selects the shortest path between source and target and moves very rapidly (up to 3 metres per second). Oh, and did we mention that it can replicate the entire yeast genome in <25 seconds?!

Does ROTOR+ support liquid transfer?

The strength of ROTOR+ is to pin colonies on agar plates, but it often first needs to collect cells from a liquid suspension. ROTOR+ can transfer liquid to or from multiwell plates using adhesion to special long pin RePads, transferring approximately 200 nl of liquid on each pin

ARE THE ROBOTS STERILE?

PIXL uses specially developed Pinpoint™ picking technology for a step-change in reliability and sterility. PickupLine comes gas sterilised, prepackaged in a sealed bag and is thermally sterilised again, just before picking. Pinpoint uses the freshly-cut end of a sterile PickupLine™ to transfer microbial colonies.

ROTOR+ uses disposable plastic replica plating pads that come in sealed bags, which are then gamma irradiated, ready to be used.

Both robots have a built-in UV light that disinfects the working environment in between uses.
Together, the robots have a cross contamination rate of <0.04%.

CAN ROTOR+ PIXL COPE WITH UNEVEN AGAR?

Yes, totally! Agar is rarely flat. It’s probably the biggest challenge in colony picking automation and one of the areas where these robots really dominate. The gimbal-mount colony manipulating printhead on ROTOR+ senses the surface of the agar, applying just 1 gram of load, ensuring tolerance to different agar heights and surface variability without splashing cells everywhere or missing colonies (those of you who know, know!) The gimbal-mount also allows the print head to morph onto the agar surface even if it is at an angle.

By design, PIXL’s Pinpoint™ picking technology morphs to differences in agar height and carefully regulates the contact pressure. It happily maintains picking accuracy and repeatability across uneven agar surfaces and easily copes with agar height variations from plate to plate. Oh, and all of this is completely automated on every pick!

WHICH FLUORESCENT MARKERS CAN I SELECT FOR?

PIXL will quantify and allow selection for wtGFP, sfGFP, mCherry, tagBFP and Venus as standard, these proteins have been tested in house. Get in touch if you are interested in checking compatibility with a different marker. Because PIXL is a colony picker and not a microscope, it will not detect sub-cellular or very low levels of expression.


Accessories

Tech Specs



Product Code

RT2-001

 

Footprint

L: 119 cm x W: 62 cm x H: 75 cm (length increases to 161cm at normal extension of the touch screen)

NOTE: An additional 500mm is needed at one end for the bracket mounted touch screen. This can fit at either end.

 

Weight

114 kg

 

Power requirements

110-240V AC 50-60 Hz Power: 500W
Power connection at the right hand end (from front) via IEC cable (supplied)

 

Compressed air requirements

Dry, oil-free, compressed air/nitrogen at min 4 bar (60 psi) max 10 bar (150 psi)
Consumption: 3 litres/min (0.1 CFM)
Air connects to left hand end (from front)

Pinning head

Movement X-axis: 800mm
Movement Y-axis: 30mm
Movement Z-axis: 90mm

 

Interfaces

1x Ethernet Port
2x USB Port
1x RS232 Serial Port
1x KB/MS/LAN2

 

Lighting/Disinfection

White light and UV disinfectant light

 

No-cost accessories

Beer bottle cap remover or corkscrew (specify) fitted as standard

 

Pinning Speed

Agar to agar: 25 seconds per plate

Agar to liquid/liquid to agar: 28 seconds per plate

 



Product Code

PIX-001

 

Footprint

L: 730mm x W: 640mm x H: 805mm

 

Weight

100 kg

 

Power requirements

240VAC at 3 Amps, 100-240VAC Compatible.

 

Camera

  • 5MP (2448 x 2048) Resolution
  • USB 3.0
  • 2/3” Sensor
  • 16mm Autofocus Liquid Lens

Monitor

  • 21.5″, 1080p Full HD, LED-Backlit LCD Monitor
  • Edge-to-edge glass display with anti-glare

 

Top Light

1x White Channel & 5x Fluorescence Channels

  • UV 1 (380-390 nm)
  • UV 2 (400-410 nm)
  • Blue (465-485 nm)
  • Cyan (490-510 nm)
  • Green (520-540 nm)

This is not a microscope! It is a colony picker. As such it will not detect sub-cellular or low levels of expression.

Warranty

1-Year (as standard)

 

Support

Singer Instruments has a long-standing reputation for fantastic service and support, for which we are very proud. Our motto, ‘a responsibility to science’, extends to our service and support whereby our primary motivation is to eliminate, or at least minimise, your experimental downtime. We design our products for reliability, longevity, speed, and ease-of-use. Our Lab Support packages augment these design criteria by increasing life-expectancy and increasing device reliability with preventive and predictive maintenance. Should any reactive maintenance be called upon, our time, cost and carbon efficient support should get you up and running in the shortest time possible.

Singer Instruments’ products are fully guaranteed against faulty materials or workmanship for one year from the date of commissioning. Should the product be controlled by a computer, the guarantee necessitates internet connectivity for remote access* availability.

Singer Lab Support is an excellent and cost effective service that gives the Laboratory unlimited access to Singer technical experts by phone, email, VOIP or remote access. All requests are entered into the Singer ticketing system that allows both the Laboratory and Singer Instruments to log, track and monitor any reported issues from initial contact through to resolution. While we aim to respond to all queries within 24 hours, our average response times are far less.

Our Singer Lab Support packages come with discounts for multiple years, multiple products and renewals. We offer 2 levels of cover – Lab Support and Lab Support Plus.

*remote access – a highly secure method of allowing a Singer Instruments engineer access to your machine via an Internet connection. Not applicable for all products.

Contact

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ROTOR+ and PIXL Benefits

Extremely low risk of contamination

ROTOR function: Gama Irradiated RePads

STERILE, READY-TO-USE PIN PADS

All Singer PlusPlates and RePads come in gamma-irradiated packs and are ready to use.

ROTOR function: Robotic lid-lifters

ROBOTIC LID LIFTERS

Each lid comes with its own independently-controlled lid lifter, minimising the exposure of cells to open air.

ROTOR Benefit: Fast Plate Replication for High-throughput Screening

SUPER FAST PLATE REPLICATION

The robotic print head completes the replication of the entire plate of cells in as little as 25 seconds!

ROTOR function: Anti-contamination screen and UV

UV LIGHT & ANTI-CONTAMINATION SCREEN

Protective roller-shutter and UV disinfectant light source for when the robot is not in use and a clear anti-contamination screen during operation.

Ultra easy-to-use

ROTOR function: 4 plate turntable

4 BAY TURNTABLE

Four-position colour-coded turntable for loading multiple source or target plates

ROTOR function: User-friendly touch-screen

EXTREMELY EASY-TO-USE TOUCH-SCREEN SOFTWARE

Side-mounted touch-screen computer with simple, user- editable software, wi-fi and Ethernet capabilities for online support and software upgrades.
It takes hardly any time to learn how to operate the ROTOR+ and run a program— you can begin running your pinning protocol immediately!

Extremely accurate and reliable pinning experience

ROTOR HDA accuracy - Accurate to 4µm

LINEAR MOTOR ACCURATE TO 5µm!

Super Smart ROTOR print head

SMART AGAR-SENSING PIN HEAD

The pin head lightly and carefully senses the surface the agar because it applies a predefined pressure to pick cells up.

ROTOR function: Gimbal Mounted Pin Head

GIMBAL MOUNTED PIN HEAD

The Pin Head uses a pivoted support that allows the rotation to compensate for fluctuation in agar flatness.

ROTOR function: Pinning Offset

SMART OFFSET COLONY PINNING

When replicating a single source plate multiple times, minute, alternating offsets will be applied to the source plate picking position by default, to maximise the homogeneity and consistency of target plate cell density.

ROTOR function: 3d wet mix

3D LIQUID MIXING

When spotting liquid to agar, the helical stirring of 96 or 384 well plates is applied by default to maximise cell re-suspension and target plate homogeneity.

ROTOR Function: 2D dry mix

2D DRY MIXING

The Pin Head can skip around on the agar surface to select from a wider area of cells.

ROTOR function: kinematic design for complete accuracy

KINEMATIC DESIGN FOR COMPLETE ACCURACY & REPEATABILITY

Kinematics are used in the design of the Pad Hopper, Pin head and Turntable which ensures that the ROTOR+ knows exactly where the RePads and Plates are located. This is how accuracy and repeatability is assured even up to densities of 6144 and above.

Barcode Reader for ROTOR HDA

BARCODE READER

The ROTOR+ is barcode reader-compatible for accurate routine logging.

Versatile

ROTOR function: Mate Colonies

MATE COLONIES

ROTOR function: replicate colonies

REPLICATE COLONIES

ROTOR function: re-array colonies

RE-ARRAY COLONIES

ROTOR function: Combine and Break Down Plates

COMBINE & BREAK DOWN PLATES

ROTOR Function: Pin Agar to Agar/ Agar to Liquid

PIN FROM AGAR TO AGAR / AGAR TO LIQUID

The ROTOR+ uses plastic replica plating pads and supports liquid pinning to and from 96 and 384 well microtitre plates and agar pinning at densities 96, 384, 1536, and 6144.

ROTOR function: Pin liquid to agar / liquid to liquid

PIN FROM LIQUID TO AGAR / LIQUID TO LIQUID

The ROTOR+ uses plastic replica plating pads and supports liquid pinning to and from 96 and 384 well microtitre plates and agar pinning at densities 96, 384, 1536, and 6144.

ROTOR Function: Ultra High-Density Pinning: 6k & Beyond

ULTRA HIGH-DENSITY PINNING: 6K & BEYOND

Using the 6144 RePads, the ROTOR+ can replicate the entire yeast deletion library in quadruplicate in less than 20 seconds!

See an example of a 6144-density array

Open API for ROTOR software

OPEN API

The ROTOR+ API is complete and very comprehensive. There is also a detailed help file which includes a getting started guide and full API namespaces.

Other features

ROTOR function: Compact benchtop robot

COMPACT

Small footprint: free-up valuable lab space.

See dimensions here 

ROTOR function: Beer Bottle Opener

BEER BOTTLE OPENER

It’s been a hard day, time to enjoy a delicious beer—you’ve earned it! (Wine bottle opener also available)
See post-experimental procedure for the ROTOR+

 

 

Applications

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Citations

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