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The here presented technology allows to separate polarizable bioparticles, such as bacteria, from each other and to cultivate them individually under controlled environmental conditions. By employing negative dielectrophoresis (nDEP) via special electrodes cells can be trapped contactless in a flow of growth medium. The whole system is constructed as a microfluidic lab on a chip. The sophisticated design of the flow channels prevents influence of other cells to the one under control.
Video demonstration: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/35694664/ENVIROSTAT.wmv
The fields of application for this invention are to be found in science and industry as well. The analysis of single cell behavior is currently a main topic in biotechnology. It enables to study the response and functionality of one organism without relying on averages due to the statistic distribution of a cell population.
This technology gives for example the opportunity to effectively enhance certain pharmaceutical production processes that use biosynthesis of bacteria or yeast, by selectively cultivating and optimizing only the best fitting individuals.
A European and a US patent application have been filed for this invention (WO2012/152844A2).
Advantages of this technology have been shown in several experiments and further information can be given on request. A third generation prototype has recently been developed, which is optimised regarding durability, functionality and manufacturing costs.
PROvendis is offering licenses for this technology to interested companies on behalf of the TU Dortmund University.