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Reinventing Buffer Screening with Avacta’s Optim Technology

Published: Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Last Updated: Monday, March 17, 2014
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Optim system screen a wide range of buffer conditions quickly and cheaply.

Avacta’s Optim protein stability analysis technology is helping researchers at Manchester University to approach buffer selection in an entirely new way.

Dr Tom Jowitt, Manager of the University’s Biomolecular Analysis Core Facility, explained: “Academic institutions tend to work by word of mouth on protein projects, sticking to buffer conditions they are familiar with, or that have been used on previous projects within the laboratory. The buffers in use are often far from optimal for the protein of interest, but a lack of understanding of how to optimize buffer conditions means that these issues are rarely addressed.”

“As proteins become easier and easier to make in large quantities, we are trying to promote the concept of buffer screening, encouraging researchers to spend some time optimizing buffer conditions at the start of each project, and this is where Avacta’s Optim instrument comes in. Due to the low sample volume required for each analysis, the Optim system makes it easy to screen a wide range of buffer conditions relatively quickly and cheaply. We can now screen 10 or 20 buffer conditions for a protein of interest in a short space of time, which simply wasn’t plausible before we had the instrument, as the time and labour involved in performing multiple measurements using different technologies for each set of buffer conditions would have been prohibitive. This simple optimization process can have quite a significant impact on protein stability and aggregation rates, particularly for difficult to handle proteins such as those within extracellular matrix. Thanks to the Optim system, the benefits of buffer screening are being widely recognized throughout the Department and, with approximately 250 research groups, the potential knock-on benefits could be highly significant.”

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