Sakata Vegetables Europe SAS is an expert in seed production for supply to the global market. Staff in the company’s newly created European seed genetics laboratory must ensure reliable genotyping analyses are delivered at a fast pace to help guarantee the production of only the highest quality products. The team therefore chose to automate the loading of microfluidic chips for multiplexed qPCR analysis on its Fluidigm Biomark PCR Analyzer using INTEGRA pipetting solutions. VIAFLO 96 handheld electronic pipettes, ASSIST PLUS pipetting robots and VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipettes have simplified workflows and made repetitive liquid handling tasks more efficient, increasing the laboratory’s throughput capacity in line with Sakata’s ambitious business growth goals.

Sakata Corporation’s products have enjoyed success in over 130 countries since the company’s founding in 1913, and its business continues to expand in both new and existing markets. Quality is a hallmark of Sakata’s business model, and the company continuously analyzes plant physiology, germination rates, seed health and genetic data to ensure only the best quality seed is supplied to customers.

The European QC team, led by Jean-Phillippe Pichaut, was therefore tasked with developing the new laboratory facilities and workflows to address the company’s ongoing business needs and help meet annual sales growth targets. Jean-Phillippe explained: “A large part of the day-to-day activities in the laboratory involves the extraction and analysis of DNA, but this is a challenging sample preparation workflow that can take a long time when manually loading samples onto the Fluidigm microfluidic chips we need to use. Although our current throughput is relatively low, and therefore manageable when performed manually, we know this will soon change. Our annual activity is forecast to grow three-fold within three years, resulting in an exponential increase in the number of samples for QC testing. We therefore needed to ensure that we could manage this growing workload easily and efficiently. We had a clear view in our mind that we wanted to use automated liquid handling for our high throughput genotyping assays, and so began the search for the perfect solution.”

Jean-Phillippe discovered INTEGRA products after a recommendation from a former colleague. He quickly realized that the VIAFLO 96 handheld electronic pipette and ASSIST PLUS pipetting robot could provide the relatively small team with the ability to increase their workload in line with Sakata’s growth plans, effortlessly integrating with the laboratory’s Fluidigm microfluidics workflows. Manon Vendredi, a genotyping lab technician, added: “We purchased a VIAFLO 96 system for our DNA extraction workflows, as well as an ASSIST PLUS robot equipped with an 8 channel VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipette. The combination of the ASSISTS PLUS and VOYAGER allows us to transfer DNA samples from 96-well plates to almost any microfluidic chip format, streamlining analysis on our Biomark PCR Analyzer. The INTEGRA team and Fluidigm application specialists worked in partnership with us to ensure a seamless workflow, and the end result is ideal. It’s so easy to use and adds a huge degree of scalability to our workflows. It saves us a lot of time, is much more cost-effective, and reduces the number of errors when compared to manual processing.”