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Industry Insight

Simplify Your Sample Quality Decisions

Rectangle Image
Industry Insight

Simplify Your Sample Quality Decisions

Ask most life scientists to think of a microvolume spectrophotometer and they are likely to say, NanoDrop. Since its launch in 2001, NanoDrop has helped revolutionise workflows for those who work with DNA, RNA and proteins by effectively removing the need for serial dilutions.

Building on the success of the NanoDrop technology, Thermo Fisher Scientific have launched the NanoDrop One, which they tell us builds on previous NanoDrop instruments. 

To learn more about this latest addition, we spoke to Jonathan Pundt, Marketing Manager, Thermo Fisher Scientific.

AB: We are told that the NanoDrop One builds on previous NanoDrop instruments, what are some of the main differences people can expect to see with this new instrument?

Jonathan Pundt (JP): In addition to the striking ergonomic design and intuitive touchscreen interface, the Thermo Scientific™ NanoDrop™ One microvolume UV-Vis spectrophotometer addresses key customer pain points. The NanoDrop One instrument introduces the Thermo Scientific™ Acclaro™ Sample Intelligence technology. Acclaro is Latin for “to make clear”. There are three parts to the Acclaro technology, it:

• identifies common sample contaminants and provides corrected concentrations
• provides embedded technical support with guided troubleshooting
• ensures measurement integrity with embedded sensor and image analysis

Acclaro technology helps scientists understand their samples so that they can make informed decisions on whether to use a sample in downstream applications. As a result, our customers can be more successful in downstream experiments and avoid costly delays from having to troubleshoot experiments due to poor sample quality. 


To streamline workflows the NanoDrop One instrument offers these features, which are not available on the current NanoDrop 2000 model: 

• Auto-Blank and Auto-Measure ON/OFF to reduce data collection time
• Wider dynamic range avoids the need to dilute highly concentrated samples (e.g., dsDNA 27,500 ng/µL), saving sample prep time
• Modern connectivity (USB, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi) allows for seamless data transfer and analysis

AB: How important were existing customers in identifying these new features?

JP: Extensive customer feedback was critical in developing this next generation instrument to make it more user-friendly, while offering enhanced reliability and sample knowledge. We distilled down over 15 years of technical support questions and one-on-one user conversations, along with data from customer assessments during NanoDrop One usability studies (four group events) to optimize and refine the final model. Consequently, the new instrument helps improve productivity as well as enhances the knowledge of both the experienced scientist and novice user. All these activities were designed to bring a higher level of confidence in making decisions about sample quality (quantity and purity) and ultimately improve success in downstream applications.

AB: As well as meeting customers' evolving needs, was there also a requirement to update NanoDrop's measurement capabilities to keep up with current applications?

JP: In terms of measurement capability, the Acclaro technology uses a chemometric approach based on the application selected on the home screen (e.g., dsDNA, RNA, Proteins, etc. ) to identify common sample contaminants (e.g., Guanidine, Phenol, protein). Alerts, in the form of a yellow triangle icon, will appear on the touchscreen if the chemometric algorithms detect the presence of contaminates in the sample. Tapping on the icon allows the user to view a full-spectral absorbance graph of the sample where the spectra for the total absorbance, analyte (e.g. dsDNA) absorbance and the detected contaminant (e.g. protein) absorbance are distinguished by color. A table displaying the corrected concentration value of the analyte (total absorbance minus contaminant absorbance) appears on the same screen to the right of the colored spectral graph.


Another feature that addresses our customers’ evolving needs, is the ability to measure highly concentrated samples without requiring dilutions. This is made possible with the extended auto-pathlength technology that now allows five instead of four pathlengths to be automatically adjusted during absorbance measurements. This is especially valuable when measuring high-concentration protein preparations such as those used in therapeutic antibodies development*.

AB: NanoDrop Products have recently been included as essential instrumentation for microvolume protein quantitation in Current Protocols in Protein Science. What does this tell you about NanoDrop's acceptance by the scientific community?

JP: The fact that NanoDrop spectrophotometers are included in Current Protocols in Protein Science, a respected resource in protein research, enhances the level of credibility and trust that our users have in NanoDrop instruments. The NanoDrop 2000/2000c instruments were designed with applications to quantify proteins by direct A280 absorbance and by colorimetric protein assays (e.g., Lowry, Bradford, BCA, and Pierce 660 nm). Users had the option to measure 2 µL protein samples (pedestal position) or extend the lower limit of detection by using the additional cuvette position (2000c model contains both pedestal and cuvette measuring stations). The new NanoDrop One and OneC spectrophotometers now contain an additional application for quantifying protein and peptide preparations at 205 nm. The A205 protein method has a few advantages over the direct A280 method, which include; 1.) less variability due to A205 extinction coefficients not being based on amino acid composition, and 2.) more sensitivity from high molar absorptivity that proteins have at 205 nm. The NanoDrop One patented sample-retention technology and low stray light performance make this A205 quantitation method possible. We hope with new protein applications such as the A205 method that NanoDrop instruments will continue to help scientists publish more peer-reviewed papers to advance their research. Visit www.nanodrop.com to learn more.

*NOTE: NanoDrop instruments are for research use only. Not for diagnostic purposes.

Jonathan Pundt was speaking to Ashley Board, Managing Editor for Technology Networks.