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Taking OD measurement to the next level

Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (DTU Biosustain)


In the summer of 2022, DTU Biosustain purchased nothing less than 17 new absorbance plate readers, Epoch2 from Agilent Biotek.
This unique set up was created to be able to run a large number of samples at the same time, over a long period of time. We had a brief discussion with postdoc Enrico Orsi from DTU  Biosustain about both the use of the plate readers, why they have acquired so many and how they make room for all those plate readers, when space is a limitation in the lab.


Research focus :
Our group research interest is to engineer environmental bacteria with new metabolic traits that make them suitable for industrial applications. These new traits mean for  example new metabolic pathways for the assimilation of new substrates (like CO2), which enable growth e.g. under high CO2 concentrations.

Plate readers used at DTU Biosustain :
We use both Epoch2 and Synergy H1 from Agilent Biotek. 

Why this setup? We ordered a bunch (17 Epoch2), and there was the space limitation in the lab. The coordination of creating the stack of plate readers was discussed between Jan Joensen (Laboratory coordinator) and the IT department at  DTU Biosustain.

Why Epoch2 ?
They are quite robust and usually allow long time measurements (multiple days) without crashing.  This is important when testing new engineered strains that are not optimized yet and grow very poorly.


Why so many plate readers in the same lab? 
We use a technique for metabolic engineering called growth-coupled selection. Here, we create mutant strains that cannot grow until the pathway of interest is cloned inside the cell to complement growth. In this way, bacterial growth profiles become the readout of how well the pathway can support the metabolic flux (= do its job). This technique is now central in our laboratory, and many people use it. Therefore, this requires a lot of plates. The plate readers are  perfect for this purpose, as you start the experiment, and the kinetic measurement provides you with the growth profile without the need of manually measuring OD over multiple hours/days.

Innovative solution when space is limited  :
We have 1 PC connected to each reader. We have two screens, meaning that each screen is connected to 6 PC using a switch.


If you are working  with bacterial growth over time, the robust Epoch2 is a  great set-up for your research, as they are at DTU biosustain.  
Contact us to learn how  the plate readers could fit into your lab.