Alpha Biotech, a leader in crystallisation instrumentation in the UK, is proud to announce the release of the new MPCS Plug Maker™ from Emerald Biosystems.

Based on lab-on-a-chip micro-fluidics the Plug Maker has several key features:

  • Low sample volume: 5nl-10nl/experiment; up to 800 experiments / 4µl protein
  • No dead-volume, therefore no loss of protein sample
  • Enables systematic assessment of optimal protein ‘crystallisation slot’ through optimisation screens
  • Crystals directly amenable to X-ray diffraction experiments with standard equipment
  • Crystals can be readily extracted for traditional cryo-preservation
  • Low cost per experiment

Optimal protein crystallisation growth conditions can be identified by systematic variation of one or two chemical components. MPCS™ fine gradient screening via automated on-chip formulation is a powerful optimisation tool that allows thorough interrogation of specific regions of crystallisation phase space.

Sparse matrix screening is achieved with the Plug Maker using the hybrid mode. In the hybrid mode, a pre-formed cartridge from a 96-well plate, containing a series of precipitants is generated and combined with the protein sample inside the CrystalCard™. Crystals are easily extracted from the CrystalCards by peeling off the back and looping the crystals.

The Emerald BioSystems Plug Maker instrument was recently recognised by the Association for Lab Automation (ALA) with the organisation’s new product award. ALA’s new product award recognised the top three outstanding new products showcased at LabAutomation2010, the world’s leading conference and exhibition on emerging laboratory technologies.