A technique that reduces the concentration of substances such as bacteria, viruses, or DNA. It is used in numerous disciplines such as microbiology, molecular biology, virology, cell biology, and biochemistry.
Serial dilution involves multiple dilution steps, each creating a lower concentration of the original sample. Three common methods include the standard, logarithmic, and microwell plate methods. The complexity of serial dilution lies in the need for precision and accuracy, particularly with manual pipetting, which can lead to errors and inconsistencies. Automating the process using robotic pipetting systems increases accuracy, improves reproducibility, saves time, reduces contamination risk, and allows for high-throughput screening, overcoming the challenges of manual pipetting.
Serial dilutions are commonly used in various workflows such as:
The OT-2 is a bench-top liquid handler designed to be accessible and flexible enough to automate many common applications.
Opentrons helps you automate serial dilution with open-source protocols for the OT-2 and Opentrons Flex
The main difficulty in serial dilution lies in the need for precision and accuracy in pipetting to ensure correct and reproducible results. Even small errors can lead to significant inaccuracies, especially when dealing with very small or very large quantities of substances, or when working with high dilution factors. Additionally, contamination can occur at any stage of the process, leading to erroneous results.
Automated liquid handling systems, such as robotic pipetting systems, can be used to automate the serial dilution process. These systems use software to control the volume and destination of each pipetting action, significantly reducing the chance of human error and improving reproducibility. The operator just needs to set up the initial conditions and then the machine takes care of the rest.