Contraction and extension of the stalk are induced by Ca2+ (calcium ions) and chelators such as EDTA and EGTA. As the stalk does not require an external power source for actuation, it has intriguing possibilities for applications in microfluidic systems.
However, controlling Vorticella actuation in a microfluidic device remains a major challenge for these applications. Now Moeto Nagai and colleagues in Japan and Usa at Toyohashi University of Technology have demonstrated that pneumatically controlled microvalves can be used as a control system for the actuation of the stalk.
The experiments were conducted in three steps: microfluidic devices were fabricated by multi-layer soft lithography; the Vorticella were introduced and cultured in the device; Ca2+ and EGTA solution were injected.
The length of the stalks changed between 20 and 60 ìm in the presence of Ca2+ and EGTA, resulting in a working distance of about 40 ìm.
The stalks of Vorticella show genuine potential for applications in microsystems such as micro-positioners and microvalves.Reference:
Moeto Nagai | Toyohashi University
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