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When to use a magnetic plate?

When working with magnetic beads in the lab, you will need a magnetic source to capture the magnetic beads and allow for complete supernatant removal. When working with a liquid handling system, a 96-well magnetic ring plate will come in very helpful.

A magnetic plate will separate the magnetic beads from the solution, by capturing them to the side of the 96-well plate or the PCR-strip. This will maximize the efficiency of magnetic bead washing, while allowing full supernatant removal.

What to consider for when choosing a magnetic plate

First of all, consider which plates you will use on the magnetic plate. Do you only use v-shaped PCR plates, or do you also use deep-welll plates? Not all magnetic plates can handle multiple sorts of 96-well plates. For an efficient and reliable separation of the magnetic beads, it is important for the chosen labware to fit perfectly onto the magnetic plate.

Secondly, there are various options of magnetic plate available when considering magnetic strength. A strong NdFeB magnet will allow a fast and reliable magnetic bead separation. Especially when deep-well plates are used, a stronger magnet is advised. Stronger magnets will allow for faster separations, shortening the time required for separating the magnetic beads from solution, resulting in a faster protocols. Stronger magnets will also decrease the risk of unintended loss of beads and therefore may increase yield. The fewer magnetic beads are lost during supernatant removal steps, the higher the overall magnetic bead and as such captured product (for example DNA, RNA, protein, etc.)  recovery.

Last but not least, the shape of the magnets in the magnetic plate can play a crucial role. Ring shaped magnets pull aside the magnetic beads in a ring shape where pin or bar magnets will collect the beads in one spot. 

Both magnetic plate devices will allow separation of the beads, however the collection of magnetic beads in a ring shape does provide technical advantages over a pin or bar magnet. Collecting the magnetic beads in a ring shape around 1 mm above the bottom of the well surface enables the end user or liquid handler to completely remove all supernatant without harming the ring of beads. The pipet tip can access the well towards the bottom, passing the ring of magnetic beads without harming the integrity of the bead ring itself. Finally, collecting the beads in a ring shape spreads the beads over a larger surface area compared to collecting all beads in one spot. A greater surface area will increase the efficiency of washing steps tremendously, resulting in a higher purity of the captured product. Use CleanNA‘s 96 Well Magnet Plates