Microfluidic Platform For Studying Biofilm Formation Of Oil-Degrading Bacteria
Yazdi, Saeed Rismani
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Crude oil spill is a significant threat to marine wildlife and human health. Understanding the interaction of oil-degrading bacteria at aqueous-oil interfaces at submillimeter scale is crucial to biodegradation and bioremediation. Here we present a microfluidic system that allows real-time and parallel observation of bacteria interaction with crude oil during biofilm formation and degradation of the oil. A simple and robust microfluidic platform is designed, fabricated and tested. Stable and controllable oil-bacterial solution interfaces are formed. The theory of the capillary valves used in the device and the microfabrication steps are presented. Experimental results show the accumulation of Marinobacter hydrocarbonoclasticus –an oil degrading bacteria– at the bacterial solution interface with paraffin oil. After ~3 hr of incubation, bacteria start to form microcolony at the oil interface. Results show that presented microfluidic device can be successfully used for research on bacteria-oil interactions and other applications requiring an interface formed by two immiscible liquids.