An integrated hybrid microfluidic device for oviposition-based chemical screening of adult Drosophila melanogaster†
Chemical screening using Drosophila melanogaster (the fruit fly) is vital in drug discovery, agricultural, and toxicological applications. Oviposition (egg laying) on chemically-doped agar plates is an important read-out metric used to quantitatively assess the biological fitness and behavioral responses of Drosophila. Current oviposition-based chemical screening studies are inaccurate, labor-intensive, time-consuming, and inflexible due to the manual chemical doping of agar. In this paper, we have developed a novel hybrid agar-polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microfluidic device for single- and multi-concentration chemical dosing and on-chip oviposition screening of free-flying adult stage Drosophila. To achieve this, we have devised a novel technique to integrate agar with PDMS channels using ice as a sacrificial layer. Subsequently, we have conducted single-chemical toxicity and multiple choice chemical preference assays on adult Drosophila melanogaster using zinc and acetic acid at various concentrations. Our device has enabled us to 1) demonstrate that Drosophila is capable of sensing the concentration of different chemicals on a PDMS-agar microfluidic device, which plays significant roles in determining oviposition site selection and 2) investigate whether oviposition preference differs between single- and multi-concentration chemical environments. This device may be used to study fundamental and applied biological questions in Drosophila and other egg laying insects. It can also be extended in design to develop sophisticated and dynamic chemical dosing and high-throughput screening platforms in the future that are not easily achievable with the existing oviposition screening techniques.