Automated Serial Dilution

Automating Serial Dilutions on the OT-2 (1:06)


A serial dilution is the sequential dilution of a substance in solution. It is a basic protocol for nearly every life science lab, and is used routinely to create standard curves, create working stocks of samples, and more. While serial dilutions are critical to the success of many workflows, they are repetitive and time-consuming, making them perfect processes for biology lab automation. The Opentrons OT-2 liquid handling robot can easily perform automated serial dilutions. Just input your desired dilution factor, number of dilution, and volume on our Prov tocol Library, then download your protocol, and run it on your OT-2.

This workflow can be used for the following applications:

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Proteomics
  • Beer manufacturing
  • Forensics
  • Clinical applications
  • Cosmetic science
  • Ecology
  • Plant cell biology
  • Food science
  • Neurology


Automating serial dilution offers many benefits to traditional manual protocols, such as:

  • Increased speed
  • Maximum accuracy
  • Precise standard curves
  • Less repetitive pipetting


Step 1

Place reagents onto robot

Load reagents and labware onto the deck of the OT-2. Ensure tubes are labelled properly.

Step 2

Choose your protocol

Just input your desired dilution factor, number of dilutions, and volume on our Protocol Library, then download your protocol, and run it on your OT-2.

Step 3

Calibrate & activate protocol

Confirm pipetting locations and hit “run”

Step 4

Run your assay

With a perfect serial dilution complete, you’re now free to run your assay with precise standard curves.

Opentrons Materials

Additional Materials

  • USA Scientific 12-channel reservoir for automation (1061-8150)
  • Corning 96-well EIA/RIA Easy Wash™ Clear Flat Bottom Polystyrene (3368)
  • Corning 500 mL Molecular Biology Grade Water (46-000-CV)
  • McCormick Assorted Food Color and Egg Dye - Blue
  • Tecan Infinite F200 Pro



The OT-2 supports various labware for serial dilution. While the labware you use may vary based on the reagents, aluminum block, or temperature module requirements for your lab, we recommend the 12-channel reservoirs designed for automation to every lab doing serial dilutions. This 12-channel reservoir, plus a 96-well PCR plate, clear flat bottom microplate, and molecular biology grade water, are what we used to optimize and verify our serial dilution protocol. (view technical note) If you prefer to use different labware, you can most likely find a close match in our Labware Library, or reach out to our support team for help setting it up.


Ensure that your OT-2 is fitted with suitable pipettes for the volumes you will need to work with. All of our pipettes can support serial dilution, but pipette channel and size can vary based on your protocol. For example, if you’re diluting a 200 ml sample, a p300 pipette would suit that protocol well. You can also use a multichannel pipette to perform the dilution faster without needing to adapt the protocol. You can even choose to reuse tips by having the pipette hover over the well to dispense liquid rather than trash them, saving resources and lab costs. Please review our Opentrons Pipette White Paper for more information on our pipettes and pipetting volumes as low as 1 µL.

Our Community

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