Recently Labcyte teamed up with metagenomics company Radiant Genomics to see how tipless acoustic handling could improve their NGS sample prep workflow. We’ve documented the results in an app note, “Optimized NGS Library Preparation with Acoustic Liquid Handling,” that offers some useful tips for any lab working with library prep for NGS.
Radiant scientists have an interesting challenge: because they’re studying complex metagenomics communities, they must drive down per-sample costs to keep projects affordable. In the app note, which they co-authored, they note that a typical library prep cost for one sample is about $40 — but for one of their projects, that might mean a total sample prep cost of about $200 million.
By shifting library prep to our Echo® 525 Liquid Handler, the Radiant team was able to reduce reagent volumes by 100-fold without any negative impact on downstream results. That immediately lowered the library prep costs to less than 50 cents per sample.
Radiant also looked at using the Echo 525 for library barcoding to increase the number of samples that can be run together. The scientists developed a combinatorial barcoding strategy that dramatically reduced the number of unique primer barcodes needed while pooling more samples. This strategy was made possible by the Echo 525, which can be used in random-access mode, unlike other liquid handlers. The clever approach enabled a 600x decrease in costs for primers, turning a project that was once prohibitively expensive into something feasible.
Check out the app note to see how this work was done and how these approaches might be useful for making science more affordable in your own lab.