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Hamilton Robotics’ Workstation First of Its Kind in Brazil for Synthetic Biology

Braskem, green plastics giant based in Latin America, invests in Hamilton instrument for development of new renewable polymers

RENO, Nev., (July 9, 2013) -- Hamilton Robotics, a world leader in liquid handling automation, and Braskem (BRKM5), the world’s largest innovator in sustainable plastics, have partnered to accelerate research in metabolic engineering.

Braskem has acquired Hamilton’s high-throughput Microlab® STAR workstation for use in projects focused on the manipulation of synthetic microorganisms to develop new renewable polymers used for products such as bottle tops, food containers, storage systems, and lighter weight auto parts.

With Hamilton’s high-throughput automated system, Braskem is able to better select the yeast colonies with desired characteristics for use in the bio-ethanol production that will ultimately result in the bio-polymer production. This includes selecting colonies, sub culturing them, assaying the desired protein in both culture supernatants and in yeast, sub culturing or hitpicking and re-processing the clones, and lastly, going through the selection until the high-producing yeast colonies are identified.

With the STAR workstation’s unparallel flexibility and modularity, Braskem has also been able to integrate a new level of automation that is translating to a 1000-fold increase in productivity over current manual processes using hand-held pipettes.

"The STAR workstation is yet another tool that will enable Braskem as well as Brazil to accelerate their development of competencies in biotechnology and position themselves as key players in the bioeconomy,” said Avram Slovic, Manager of Braskem’s Biotechnology Program. “Braskem will achieve greater results in synthetic biology and advanced biopolymers by adding this advanced technology,” said Slovic.

"By working with one of the world's top bio-production corporations, Hamilton is able to gain a foot hold in the huge Latin American market,” said Dr. Jose Carle, Vice President at Hamilton Robotics. “Our precision colony picking and assay preparation STAR system will be used to speed protein identification, which is critical to Braskem's renewable polymers business," added Carle. The STAR workstations are based on superior air displacement pipetting technology. They speed and improve the liquid handling process, increasing accuracy and repeatability, and providing chain of custody with pipette condition monitoring and recording. Each workstation can be configured to include multiple arms with numerous pipetting and gripping devices that all move independently to support use of a wide range of labware. An autoload option provides barcode tracking of samples, labware, racks, and carriers. Each system is programmed using Microlab® VENUS software, which tracks samples and can record and store all lab methods. The software can also communicate with external databases, including LIM.

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