If you’re a laboratory professional who thinks a programmable coffee maker is the greatest thing since sliced bread, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Not only can you wake up to fresh brewed java at your prescribed time, you can now arrive at your workplace and find freshly made culture media ready and waiting to be used, thanks to the recent development of a new programmable media preparator.
Say hello to the Masterclave 20 Automated Media Preparator, the brainchild of bioMérieux, Inc., Hazelwood, Mo., introduced in November 2016.
“With its automatic water-filling and autostart features, the Masterclave 20 has the ability to prepare fresh agar or broth that is ready when lab operations begin,” says J. Stan Bailey, PhD, director of scientific affairs for bioMérieux Industry.
With this preparator, one medium can be made at a time, during a cycle that takes less than 90 minutes.
“The Masterclave 20 is compact, mobile, and adaptable to any workspace,” Dr. Bailey relates. “A built-in cleaning gun provides fast and efficient cleaning. Our proprietary ‘I Connect’ technology offers fully automated traceability with built-in RFID (radio frequency identification), email alerts, and laboratory information management system (LIMS) connectivity capability. And the instrument is ISO 11133, ISO 7218, and GMP (good manufacturing practices) compliant.”
Another recent bioMérieux offering is GENE-UP, a proprietary real-time three-step polymerase chain reaction (PCR) pathogen detection system, which the company touts is fast, simple, accurate, and requires minimal training.
Dr. Bailey explains that GENE-UP’s first step, sample preparation and enrichment, includes a standardized protocol and workflow with single enrichment and incubation time between 8 and 24 hours. Step two consists of a simplified, generic 5-minute mechanical lysis. (What bioMérieux calls its Magic Cap eliminates the need to cap/decap tubes, so there is less hands-on time required, plus there is a decreased risk of cross-contamination, Dr. Bailey notes.)
The third step, amplification and detection, features the same PCR run for all parameters. “This allows for accurate results within one hour, a higher level of specificity than other molecular methods, and real-time PCR analysis coupled with end-point melt peak analysis,” Dr. Bailey says. “GENE-UP uses a different kind of FRET (fluorescence resonance energy transfer) technology with three levels of specificity, namely primers, FRET probes, and melt peak analysis. This offers an additional level of sensitivity valuable for detecting low level samples.”
Since GENE-UP was introduced in 2016, it has really taken off, Dr. Bailey boasts. “Laboratories are encountering workflow improvements in a molecular platform, equivalent or better data performance than their current method, and with the internal control and melt peak analysis, an immediate value and confidence in the results they are reporting,” he elaborates.
In July 2016, bioMérieux also introduced a new EHEC GENE-UP PCR Kit that combines stx and eae virulence genes, and the top six serogroups in one solution.
Specific protocols (which are simply enriched in prewarmed buffered peptone water) are available for raw milk and raw milk cheese (25 grams), raw beef and veal (25 grams and 50 to 375 grams), and produce (200 grams).
This kit’s EHEC/STEC (enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli/Shiga toxin-producing E. coli) solution marries GENE-UP in combination with bioMérieux’s long-established VIDAS automated food pathogen detection system to provide what Dr. Bailey describes as “unrivaled specificity.”
“As a result, false positives are dramatically reduced,” Dr. Bailey emphasizes. “That makes this assay a real game-changer.”
BCN Research Laboratories, Inc., Rockford, Tenn., a commercial laboratory that tests food, ingredients, and environmental sponge samples for food manufacturers, has been using GENE-UP since July 2016.