Microbiology laboratories play a crucial role by establishing a front line of defense against the threat of Nosocomial infections. Automation in the medical microbiology laboratory was launched with miniaturized microbiological techniques in the 1960s; the technology was not advanced therefore the outcomes were limited. At present we can witness the revolutionary changes happening in the diagnostic industry due to the advancement of technology, particularly in the microbiological laboratory.

These automated equipment are the fundamental part of many diagnostic laboratories. Role of automation in a microbiology laboratory is to manage the clinical specimen,  detection, and identification of microbial flora. The latest automated equipment is very innovative and capable of planting and streaking, Gram slide preparation and enrichment broth inoculation.

Automation has replaced the outdated and most manual microbiological laboratory procedures with innovative automated analyzers. The technology has truly revolutionized the world of microbiology and laboratory automation. These analyzers are capable of running automated blood culture and urinary screening with smart time-saving technology. Automated identification and susceptibility testing in the fight against the microbial resistance and molecular extractions to the new level of productivity are possible due to automation.

Laboratory information system and Automation

Automation has come up to now; it has disrupted the dynamics of microbiological laboratories. Latest automation systems in microbiological laboratories can perform scientific chemistry and immunoassay strains, potentially transferring high-volume trying out of molecular diagnostics.

The automation has also decreased the laboratory hazards and potential risks. The most significant advantage is the short turnaround time. It has reduced the lab errors and increased the accuracy of the lab results by improving the quality control. The diagnosis is more rapid than ever with innovative technology thus auto-verified, and auto-interpreted data is readily available.

New microbiological techniques are being introduced in the automation systems. The analyzers are already launched that are capable of picking the colonies from plates, transfer samples to mass spectrometry for identification, suspension for susceptibility testing and interpretation of the results.

Challenges to overcome

Along with so many advantages of automation, there are several challenges such as the delay in culture growth on the agar plates which is up to 24 hours this is a significant challenge to overcome this condition economically. The identification and susceptibility testing can be successfully performed through PCR.

Latest microbiology analyzers and Automation process

There are several factors which are responsible for successful automation in the microbiological laboratories. Such as technological innovation,  demand for timely and accurate results, shortage of skilled laboratory professionals are the most common ones. The arrival of the latest technology along with microbiological techniques mass spectrometry, molecular techniques, automated susceptibility systems has allowed clinical microbiology to accomplish the impossible milestones.

The distinct professional skills of the early pioneers have taken over by technological advancement that allowed the study of microbiology to progress to the next level. Automation in the microbiology laboratories can be accomplished by automating processes that do not involve the dynamic nature of microorganisms. Advanced computerized systems are in practice and lab tasks performed by the most skilled laboratorians.

Most Commonly Used Microbiological Analyzers

  1. MALDI Biotyper

MALDI Biotyer is a multipurpose automated diagnostic system used for highly reliable and rapid identification of microorganisms.

  • mariPOC Point-of-Care Diagnostics System

The mariPOC Point-of-Care Diagnostics System is used for the identification of respiratory tract infections.

  • NanoCHIP XL Analyzer

The NanoCHIP XL Analyzer is also a multipurpose system it is mainly used for the molecular identification of microorganisms.

  • ChromaZona – Microbial Identification and AST Analysis

ChromaZona is designed for the accurate and rapid antibiotic susceptibility testing.

  • BD BACTEC  MGIT Automated Mycobacterial Detection System

BD BACTEC  MGIT is an automated detection system developed for the mycobacterial identification.

  • aCOLyte 3 HD

  aCOLyte 3 HD is an automated system and a great addition to the microbiological labs. It is used for automatic colony counting.

Normal routine and timeline of testing

Present day microbiology laboratories call for efficiency,  which means continuously improving statistics and lab productivity by producing accurate results within a short period of time. This technique works with the aid of decreasing the specified running capital investment through the quicker release of inventory. As microbiologists end up swamped with higher and higher volumes of labor, traditional paper-intensive guide plate methodologies have become a factor of the past, and automated technology now holds the vital thing to destiny growth.

Automation has brought positive change to the field of diagnostic industry earlier the results were highly dependent on the skills of laboratory personnel. Labs were unable to interpret the fast results, and the delay in reporting was pervasive the accuracy, and diagnostic procedures are more economical after implementing automation.

Manual microbiological techniques are exhausting they are also prone to transcription errors and require qualified laboratory workers to spend most of the time to conduct simple, tedious procedures. The computerized microbiological testing system is highly efficient and reliable. The results are highly accurate permitting clinical microbiologists to manipulate efficiently, review, keep, and report the vast extent of analytical information needed for microbiology quality control.  The automation substantially reduces the probabilities of human blunders in addition to the hazard of misplaced data, ensuing in massive productiveness profits for manufacturers and laboratories.

Rapid diagnostic methods and automation in microbiology is a dynamic area in applied microbiology, dealing with the exploration of improved techniques in the isolation, early detection, characterization and enumeration of microorganisms and their merchandise in medical, pharmaceutical,  industrial and environmental samples.