Droplet microfluidic platforms have, while enabling high-throughput manipulations and the assaying of single cell scale compartments, been lacking interfacing to allow macro scale access to the output from droplet microfluidic operations. Here, we present a simple and high-throughput method for individually directing cell containing droplets to an addressable and macro scale accessible microwell slide for downstream analysis. Picoliter aqueous droplets containing low gelling point agarose and eGFP expressing Escherichia coli (E. coli) are created in a microfluidic device, solidified to agarose beads and transferred into an aqueous buffer. A Fluorescence activated cell sorter (FACS) is used to sort agarose beads containing cells into microwells in which the growth and expansion of cell colonies is monitored. We demonstrate fast sorting and high accuracy positioning of sorted 15 !m gelled droplet agarose beads into microwells (14 × 48) on a 25 mm × 75 mm microscope slide format using a FACS with a 100 !m nozzle and an xystage. The interfacing method presented here enables the products of high-throughput or single cell scale droplet microfluidics assays to be output to a wide range of microtiter plate formats familiar to biological researchers lowering the barriers for utilization of these microfluidic platforms.
Bai, Y., Weibull, E., Jönsson, H., & Andersson-Svahn, H. (2014). Interfacing picoliter droplet microfluidics with addressable microliter compartments using fluorescence activated cell sorting. Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 194, 249-254. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.snb.2013.12.089