P1008 Accuracy Matters When Quantitative, Manually-pipetted Assays Graduate to Automation A Story in Diagnosing and Troubleshooting

Kevin Khovananth , Artel, Westbrook, ME
It is often the case that assays are initially performed on the benchtop using handheld pipettes before they graduate, or transfer, to an automated liquid handler. Automating a manual method may take time and patience, but automation will help lower costs, increase throughput, and potentially avoid errors associated with a manual method. During the transfer process, however, the manual assay should be directly compared to the automated assay for consistencies in pipetting performance. What if the volumes of reagents pipetted to and from the assays are only compared for precision and not accuracy? An undetected variability in accuracy will impact the integrity of the assay as the automation process continues. Even if the manual method and automated method both have highly precise liquid delivery, they might not be pipetting the same volume of reagent to the assay. Accuracy information is critical to determine the deviation of the dispensed volumes from the target volume when transferring or scaling-up an assay. Validating the liquid delivery steps for each assay using a robust measurement method should be implemented to uncover discrepancies in pipetting performance. This presentation discusses the importance of knowing both accuracy and precision information when a manual method is transferred to a Biomek® liquid handler. By using a standardized volume verification metholology, it was determined that the rate-limiting reagent was not being accurately pipetted between the manual and automated methods per the protocol, and the automation was not to blame.