How To Fix Microarray Printing Issues

With advancement in technology, newer concepts are being experimented upon to check their reliability and utility. Microarray is one such technology. It is made up of 5 components. These are:

  1. Motion Control System

  1. Micro Spotting Pins

  1. Sample Preparation

  1. Substrate Surface Chemistry

  1. Printing Environment.

To Fix Microarray Printing Issues

Absence of any one of the above elements ends up compromising the quality of microarrays manufactured. In case of a flaw or problem in microarray printing results, the following steps must be considered:

  1. Checking the pins:

Substantially impaired Pins, choked pins from bad cleaning or from dirty samples are common reasons that lead to poor printing results. Physical damage to the pins cannot be repaired because of their small size. However, if the pin is not physically broken or contaminated with dust then the pins can be sonicated in purified water for five minutes.

Sonication is a procedure by which energy is applied to agitate the dust particles. After the first step, the pins are blow-dried and then covered with a protective guard. Once completed, the pins are ready for use.

The pins must be totally dry and uncontaminated before they can be used again. If they are not completely dry, the pins may not load with the new samples gradually leading to a sample shortage.

  1. Checking the Microarray functionality:

Contaminated pins are mostly the cause of printing problems, however, the real cause is sample preparation.  The recommended methods of purification can leave a dash of impurity, clogging the pins, and therefore limiting the printing performance. PCR purification kit is a widely suggested method for purification of Micro Spotting Pins.

  1. Printing substrates:

A high quality microarray can be explained as the one with equal quantity of DNA in each array on the printing substrate. The substrate has to be homogenous. If it is not similar, then this means it has different amounts of reactive groups. As a result dissimilar amounts of DNA will connect to the surface. The printing surface should be flat and even for stable printing of the samples.

Standard microscope slides are not similar and the microscope glass slides have asymmetrical dimensions. There are many differences in the texture and thickness of the slides. The thickness varies the time the pin stays on the surface. The longer it stays the more samples it creates. So it is essential that the printing surface is uniform for accurate results.

  1. Robot:

Robot is the most critical component of microarrays. In addition to the sonication procedure and having a dry and clean station for the pins, microarray requires an environment with controlled humidity – preferably between 55 to 60%. Less than 10 micron repeatability is not recommended.

A liquid handling system must not be converted to a microarray robot, as advised.

If the above-mentioned are taken care of, the manufacture of superior quality of microarrays can be guaranteed. For homemade systems, purification methods may not be very convenient to conduct and it may be difficult to control certain factors such as maintaining a certain percentage of humidity etc.

Ramsey Fyfe is a technological enthusiast who recommends the use of high quality microarray printers. He suggests good microarray printer companies like http://www.arrayjet.co.uk/ to those who want the best products.

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