Microfluidic platform for optimization of crystallization conditions

Abstract : We describe a universal, high-throughput droplet-based microfluidic platform for crystallization. It is suitable for a multitude of applications, due to its flexibility, ease of use, compatibility with all solvents and low cost. The platform offers four modular functions: droplet formation, on-line characterization, incubation and observation. We use it to generate droplet arrays with a concentration gradient in continuous long tubing, without using surfactant. We control droplet properties (size, frequency and spacing) in long tubing by using hydrodynamic empirical relations. We measure droplet chemical composition using both an off-line and a real-time on-line method. Applying this platform to a complicated chemical environment, membrane proteins, we successfully handle crystallization, suggesting that the platform is likely to perform well in other circumstances. We validate the platform for fine-gradient screening and optimization of crystallization conditions. Additional on-line detection methods may well be integrated into this platform in the future, for instance, an on-line diffraction technique. We believe this method could find applications in fields such as fluid interaction engineering, live cell study and enzyme kinetics.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - 7:51:14 AM
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Shuheng Zhang, Charline Gerard, Aziza Ikni, Gilles Ferry, Laurent Vuillard, et al.. Microfluidic platform for optimization of crystallization conditions. Journal of Crystal Growth, Elsevier, 2017, 472, pp.18-28. ⟨10.1016/j.jcrysgro.2017.01.026⟩. ⟨hal-01392627v2⟩

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