The idea of high throughput screening using microfluidic systems and droplet generation has been discussed and tested for several years. However there has not been much technical output let alone a fully automated solution that meets the high requirements for use in industrial R&D.
We have put significant effort using our combined expertise in mechanical engineering, sensor technology and biotechnology into the development of the NTP screening workstation.
Droplets are generated with an active dosing system with valves and pressure controlled, resulting in stable, reproducible and identical conditions for each droplet. The droplet size can be precisely controled by adjusting the frequency of the droplet generation.
The unique incubation system of the workstation enables the incubation of cells with or without assay addition. Incubation time is flexible and incubation conditions (time, temperature, gas supply) are controllable and identical for each sample. Thanks to the closed system, evaporation and contamination are avoided.
As basis of many biological and chemical experiments, assay solution can be individually added in each or a predefined sequence of droplets. The volume of the assay addition is variable and can be adjusted to be between 50 and 100% of the sample volume.
To detect cells or enzymes that feature the desired characteristics, several detection methods can be applied: highly sensitive fluorescence intensity with a picomolare detection limit, fluorescence anisotropy, bioluminescence or light scattering.
The selection and separation of the detected hits is based on a user defined hit rate. Based on statistical methods, the workstation sets the detection level automatically. Alternatively, the user can manually set and adjust the detection level in real time.
Cell viability in the pipe system is high, with growth rates comparable to fermentor incubation. Temperature, O2 and CO2 transfer are controlled and mixing during transport through the system is optimal.
With the NTP-Screening Workstation you are able to screen up to 10 million samples in 24 hours.
The Droplet Control Center controls the microfluidic processes during experiment runs. The collected data for each droplet is stored in a database and can be exported to be evaluated in conventional software packages. Data can also be analyzed in real time during ongoing experiments.