NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — Hudson Control Group today said it has delivered its Prolink Express automated workcell to the US Department of Agriculture, which will use it to develop new yeast strains in its biofuel production programs.
HCG said it has finished developing the workcell but will continue to work with the USDA over the coming months until the system is up and running. As part of their 1.5-year deal, the USDA had pledged $700,000.
The USDA will now incorporate the Prolink into its efforts to increase the amount of corn cellulose it can convert into ethanol. HCG said its workcell will help to develop genetically modified yeast that may help increase by 10 percent the amount of ethanol from a bushel of corn.
According to HCG, the Prolink includes a robotic colony-picker, automated incubator, reagent dispensers, plate sealers, plate reader, and service delivered by HCG microplate-handling robots.
“It takes the operation from cell colony plates, and from the initial cellular clone, right through to protein expression,” said HCG president Phil Farrelly.
Included in the partnership is use of HCG’s Softlinx software which, when used with the Prolink, allows users to “run multiple batches in different stages of the process,” and enables the equipment to be used by different processes simultaneously, the company said.