Liquid-based Microbiology and Automation: A New Frontier in the Management of Bacteriology Laboratory

Bacteriology specimens have been historically inoculated and streaked manually onto agar media. Some systems perform these tasks automatically are now available on the market. These automations can process only liquid specimens. Copan Italia (Copan) has developed a range of collection and transport devices that provide the lab (and automation) with a liquid specimen- a new approach called Liquid Based Microbiology (LBM). An automation called “Walk Away Specimen Processor” (WASP, Copan) performs the incoluation and streaking from a variety of bacteriology specimens (swabs, urine, feces, etc.), fully managing the opening/recapping of containers and plates-labeling. Our laboratory is beta-testing site for the WASP and LBM range. We evaluated the quality of the culture results, when processed by the WASP and manually; we report our experience in using the machine.