History of Microplates

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History of Microplates 2016-12-06T05:35:25+00:00




History of Microplates

By Roy Manns

Microplates are also referred to as Multiwell plates and Microtiter ® plates, the latter being a registered trademark of the first company that commercialized the use of Microplates. The earliest Microplates were handmade and date back to 1954/55 in Hungary, where the need arose because of a severe Influenza outbreak. Dr. Gyola Takatsy needed to speed up the diagnostic testing of patients and the common test tube was too cumbersome and slow. These earliest Microplates were machined one at a time, with 100 wells (micro test tubes) in 10/10 rows.

The National Institute of Health in Maryland, USA was the research base from where the late Dr. John Sever designed the first 96 well plates. John Liner, Linbr Cooke and Nelson Cooke (Cooke Engineering) went to the market at about the same time in 1962/63.

Almost all Microplates are made from various plastics and polymers, while some of the new innovative plates incorporate optical grade glass, fiberglass matting, a range of filter membranes and specialty papers.

Microplate History
2nd Edition May 1999 by Roy Manns
Presented at MipTec-ICAR’99, May 17 – 21, 1999, Montreux, Switzerland

A Microplate or Multiwell is a flat plate/tray/panel/dish with multiple test tubes. This is perhaps the best way to describe this versatile format that is now a standard in analytical research and clinical diagnostic testing. The number of " test tubes", more commonly known as " wells " have gone beyond 1536 to 3456 and even 9600 which brings the Microplate into Nano range and Pico range is not far behind. While the origins go back to 1951/2 in Hungary where Dr. Takatsy machined 6 rows of 12 in a Lucite (acrylic), common usage in the laboratory started in the late 50’s and started to gain momentum during the late ’50’s when John Liner in USA had introduced a molded version. By 1990, microplates were available with filter bottoms and overall there were more than 15 companies producing a wide range of microplates. The current estimate of the total market for microplates in 2000 is approximately 125 Million.

An overview of the significant events in the history of the development of microplates is shown below:

Year

Innovator

Affiliation

Contribution

1951

Dr. G. Takatsy

N.I.P.H. Hungary

72/100 well machined acrylic plate

1952

Dr. G. Takatsy

N.P.H. Hungary

First 96 well V bottom machined plate

1953

Mr. John Liner

Linbro Company

First vacuum formed 96 well microplate

1963 / 64

Drs. Sever & Cooke

N.I.H. Labs USA

First molded 96 well microplate

1965

Cooke

Cooke Labs USA

Company set up to make 96 well plates in acrylic and later in polystyrene

1966

Dr. Knebel

Griener Labs

First production of 96 well plates in Europe

1968

Cooke

Cooke Labs USA

Patent issued for microplate Microtiter and Trade Mark registered

1968 / 69

Not known

Falcon (now BD)

6 well PVC thermoformed plate

1968 / 69

N.A.

Dynatech Labs

Dynatech Corp acquires Cooke Labs USA

1969 / 70

Dr. Morningstar

Data Packaging Corp.

Custom molder for Microtiter® plates

1970

N.A.

Dynatech Labs / Data Packaging Corp.

Form joint venture known as CoStar

1971

Cooke

N.A.

Lawsuit against John Liner – microplate patent invalidated

1972

N.A.

Dynatech Labs / Data Packaging Corp.

Joint venture dissolved

1972

Dr. P. Cleveland

Univeristy of Minnesota

First microplate / filter manifold

1974

Allister Voller & Dr. Ken Walls

London and CDC

Start using microplates for ELISA

1975

Greg Mathus & team

CoStar division of DPC

Plate format redisgned

1975

In house team

Griener Labs

8 well strips flat and U bottom

1976

Not known

Falcon (now DB)

Starts moulded 96 well plate

1976 / 80

N.A.

Corning, Nunc

Enter 96 well plate market

1979

A. Thorne

Dynatech (Dynex)

First individual "removawell"

1980

Dr. P. Cleveland

V & P Scientific

First microplate with GF discs

1980

Dr. P. Cleveland

V & P Scientific / Schleicher & Schull

First 96 well dDot-blot manifold

1981

Kivosky et al

Millipore

Machined 96 well plate with filter

1981

Dr. Cleveland

UCLA at San Diego

First 96 well filter plate patent

1982

A. Thorne

Dynatech (Dynex)

First pigmented (black & white) plates

1983

A. Thorne

Dynatech (Dynex)

Patent issued for above in Europe

1983

Dr. M. Jolly

Pandex (now Iddex)

First black 96 well filter bottom plate

1984

Roy Manns

Meipec

Designs first "no cross-talk" filter plate

1984

Roy Manns et al

Genemed Engineering

First patent for two piece filter plate

1985

Roy Manns et al

Genemed Engineering

Produces nitrocellulose filter plate

1985

Dr. P. Cleveland

V & P Scientific

First 12 well filter strip in 96 well plate

1986

Roy Manns

Genemed Engineering

Takes over development of plates

1987

Intenal R & D team

Dynatech Labs

8 and 12 well strips in 96 well format

1987

Manns, Saunders et al

Polyfiltronics Ltd.

Newco in the UK for filter microplates

1987 / 88

Dr. V. Matkovich

Pall Corp.

Develops 3 layer / 96 well plate

1988

Internal R &D team

CoStar

8 well filter strip introduced

1988

Barry Bochner

Biolog

First postage size microplate

1990

Roy Manns et al

Polyfiltronics / Packard

First 96 well clear bottom 96 well plate

1990

Tom Astle

Tomtech / Pfizer

24 well plate with Porex Frits

1991

Unknown

Helix

First 864 well plate

1991

Richard Goodwin

Neuroprobe

First 96 well chemotaxis chamber

1991

Roy Manns

Polyfiltronics

First glass fibre microplate

1992

Dr. G. Lennon et al

Lawrence Livermore

First 384 well developed

1992

Dr. Bochner et al

Biolog / Polyfiltronics

First 48 well plate (35 mm slide format)

1992

In house team

Genetix

First commercial 384 well plate

1992

Roy Manns et al

Packard Instruments

Unifilter 96 and 24 for scintillation

1992

Richard Goodwin

Nueroprobe

Chemotaxis chamber with viewplate

1992

Roy Manns et al

Pakard Instruments

Viewplate 96 for luminesence

1993

In house team

Millipore

96 well multi-screen PVDF

1994

Richard Goodwin

Nueroprobe

ChemoTX system with first low 25ul well plate and filter frame

1995

Roy Manns / Dr. Seed

Polyfiltronics / AGTC

First deep well filter for DNA

1994

Roy Manns et al

Polyfiltronics

First moulded PCR plate

1995

Manns / Margolin et al

Polyfiltronics

First moulded 384 PCR plate

1996

Manns / Young et al

Whatman

First 1,536 well plate

1995 / 96

Manns et al

Polyfiltronics / MDC

First UV 96 well spectraplate

1996

Manns et al

Whatman / Aurora

First 3,456 well nanoplate

1997

Dr. Knebel

Greiner Labs

First injection mou;lded 1,536 well plate

1997

Richard Goodwin

Nueroprobe

300ul version of ChemoTX system

1997

Manns et al

Evotec / Whatman

First 96 well glass bottom microplate

1997

Dr. K. Oldenburg et al

Du Pont

First 9,600 well plate

1997

Dr. Knebel

Greiner Labs

First square well 1,536 well plate

1997

In house team

Genetix Ltd

First round well 1,536 well plate

1997

Lipsky, Manns

Whatman

First 2mm glass/PP – combichem

1997

Dr. Knebel

Greiner Labs

First clear bottom 1,536 well plate

1997

Dr. Knebel

Greiner Labs

First small volume (20ul) 96 well plate

1998

Polyteam

Whatman Group

First deepwell (400ul) 384 well plate

1998

Dr. Knebel

Greiner labs

UV transparent 384 well plate

1998

Dr. Smith et al

Whatman

Bioplates loaded with resins

1998

In house team

Affymax / Whatman

First 864 square well plate

1998

In house team

Affymax / Packard/ Whatman

First 864 well viewplate

1999

In house team

CoStar

96 well filter plate

1999

In house team

Millipore

Single piece 96 well filter plate

1999

In house team

Whatman / Polyfiltronics

First 48 well 5 ml rectangular plate