DDW App note: Process control and sample integrity, get your project back on track

This paid-for app note by Brooks Life Sciences appeared in DDW Volume 21, Issue 4 – Fall 2020.

The incredible response from the worldwide scientific community to COVID-19 has led to a focussed surge in activity for many established and new labs. Conversely many labs have had to shut down operations during the pandemic to mitigate the risk to their teams, delaying projects and creating bottlenecks in sample processing. 

With these delays it becomes more important to streamline drug development timelines through workflow optimisation. A popular optimisation opportunity is sample processing of microplates or sample tubes which can lead to bottlenecks in:

  • Sample tube capping and decapping
  • Sample tube labelling
  • Sample tracking
  • Microplate sealing and peeling

Optimising these workflow bottlenecks should be a priority in drug discovery and project delivery, taking each of these processing steps in turn it is possible to see what proven options are available.


Aliquoting samples is common in any lab analysing and storing samples, to optimise storage density and simplify retrieval samples are often aliquoted into low volume sample tubes in SBS formats. To protect sample integrity, it is necessary to ensure a consistent seal across the rack, and with high throughput it may be necessary to cap and decap the entire rack at once.

This is possible with the FluidX IntelliXcap™ from Brooks Life Sciences, a whole rack capper and decapper available in 96, 48 and 24 formats. Interchangeable cap drivers enable labs to have one instrument to suit many sample tubes and individual motors ensure each screw cap is tightened to the same level and sample integrity through secure capping.


With global demand on sample storage tubes, users may have been resorted to new labware types or non-coded tubes. These tubes subsequently require labelling with supplementary information such as collection ID, batch numbers or other requirements. Labelling tubes reliably at a high volume and throughput can be a challenge and take up researcher’s time manually printing and labelling sample tubes.

The IntelliXmark™ HT from Brooks Life Sciences is an automated platform capable of permanently marking a wide range of sample tubes with supplementary information and is available to early adopters. When combined with FluidX Dual-Coded Sample Storage Tubes provide a comprehensive solution suitable for supporting drug discovery workflows.


Many labs have faced a sudden influx or bottleneck of samples and higher throughput demands, the need for process control in tracking and keeping audit trails is even more important. To do this it is important to have the right systems and hardware in place to both enable the tracking of data as well as the physical reading of 2D coded tubes. 

Combining Perception™ HD and Freezerpro from Brooks Life Sciences enable both whole rack reading of 2D coded tubes as well as tracking the data and storage location associated with the samples. Perception HD is a whole rack 2D code reader compatible with a wide range of sample tubes, FreezerPro® is a sample inventory management system ideal for small research outfits to central biorepositories with millions of records.

Sealing & peeling

With a huge demand for PCR testing due to COVID-19 the number of associated consumables used has naturally increased in parallel, with this increased use of PCR plates it is important to ensure the sealing and peeling process is optimised with as little impact to infrastructure as possible. 

To match these challenges the a4S™ Automatic Roll Heat Sealer and XPeel® Automated Plate Seal Remover from Brooks Life Sciences offer unrivalled sealing and peeling performance. a4S requires no air supply and features a broad seal compatibility whilst XPeel enables consistent automated seal removal – these instruments offer a complete solution to PCR plate sealing and peeling.

Whatever stage of the sample lifecycle Brooks Life Sciences can help ensure process control and sample integrity through a comprehensive range of solutions. 

Visit www.brookslifesciences.com and speak to one of our sample management experts today.

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