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Liquid Handling Advances Boost Lab Productivity

Liquid-handling operations, such as pipetting, diluting, and dispensing, are undergoing major changes in today's life science laboratories in response to increased demands for higher productivity and reduced operator interaction. These basic, everyday functions are being improved significantly with a variety of systems that perform more efficiently, use less labor, and often lead to increased accuracy and precision. Single pipettes are expanding to multichannel units, convenient trigger-action

Howard Galdner

Liquid-handling operations, such as pipetting, diluting, and dispensing, are undergoing major changes in today's life science laboratories in response to increased demands for higher productivity and reduced operator interaction. These basic, everyday functions are being improved significantly with a variety of systems that perform more efficiently, use less labor, and often lead to increased accuracy and precision.

Single pipettes are expanding to multichannel units, convenient trigger-action devices are more accurately controlling formerly random flow rates, and manual liquid- delivery techniques are being replaced by automated dispensers. Traditional thumb controls are rapidly giving way to computer controls.

"There's a trend in the marketplace to improve precision and accuracy by decreasing the amount of operator variability in pipetting," says Paul Chadwick, marketing vice president of Rainin Instrument Co., located in Emeryville, Calif. A manual pipette is totally operated by the user's thumb and therefore subject to variation from one technician to another,...

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