Microfluidic diamagnetic water-in-water droplets: a biocompatible cell encapsulation and manipulation platform.

Authors:
Morteza Jeyhani
Morteza Jeyhani
Ryerson University
PhD Candidate
Toronto, ON | Canada

Lab Chip 2018 11;18(22):3361-3370

Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada.

Droplet microfluidics enables cellular encapsulation for biomedical applications such as single-cell analysis, which is an important tool used by biologists to study cells on a single-cell level, and understand cellular heterogeneity in cell populations. However, most cell encapsulation strategies in microfluidics rely on random encapsulation processes, resulting in large numbers of empty droplets. Therefore, post-sorting of droplets is necessary to obtain samples of purely cell-encapsulating droplets. With the recent advent of aqueous two-phase systems (ATPS) as a biocompatible alternative of the conventional water-in-oil droplet systems for cellular encapsulation, there has also been a focus on integrating ATPS with droplet microfluidics. In this paper, we describe a new technique that combines ATPS-based water-in-water droplets with diamagnetic manipulation to isolate single-cell encapsulating water-in-water droplets, and achieve a purity of 100% in a single pass. We exploit the selective partitioning of ferrofluid in an ATPS of polyethylene glycol-polypropylene glycol-polyethylene glycol triblock copolymer (PEG-PPG-PEG) and dextran (DEX), to achieve diamagnetic manipulation of water-in-water droplets. A cell-triggered Rayleigh-Plateau instability in the dispersed phase thread results in a size distinction between the cell-encapsulating and empty droplets, enabling diamagnetic separation and sorting of the cell-encapsulating droplets from empty droplets. This is a simple and biocompatible all-aqueous platform for single-cell encapsulation and droplet manipulation, with applications in single-cell analysis.

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Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c8lc00867aDOI Listing
November 2018
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