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Issue 20, 2012
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Optical microplates for high-throughput screening of photosynthesis in lipid-producing algae

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Abstract

It is well known that biological systems respond to chemical signals as well as physical stimuli. The workhorses of high throughput screening, microplates and pipetting robots, are well suited for screening chemical stimuli; however, there are fewer options for screening physical stimuli, particularly those which involve temporal patterns. This paper presents an optical microplate for photonic high-throughput screening. The system provides addressable intensity and temporal control of LED light emission in each well, and operates on standard black-wall clear-bottom 96-well microplates, which prevent light spillover. Light intensity can be controlled to 7-bit resolution (128 levels), with a maximum intensity of 120 mE cm−2. The temporal resolution, useful for studying dynamics of light-driven bioprocesses, can be as low as 10 μs. The microplate is used for high-throughput studies of light-dependent growth rates and photosynthetic efficiency in the model organism Dunaliella tertiolecta, a lipid-producing algae of interest in 2nd generation biofuels. By conducting 96 experiments in parallel, photoirradiance studies, which would require 2 years using conventional tools, can be completed in <2 weeks. In a 12 day culture, algal growth rates increase with total photon flux, as expected. Interestingly, the lipid production efficiency, defined as lipid production per unit photon flux per capita, increases nearly 5 fold at low light intensity (constant light) and at low duty cycle (pulsed light). High throughput protocols enabled by this system are conducive to systematic studies and discovery in the fields of photobiology and photochemistry.

Graphical abstract: Optical microplates for high-throughput screening of photosynthesis in lipid-producing algae

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
01 May 2012
Accepted
20 Aug 2012
First published
21 Aug 2012

Lab Chip, 2012,12, 3870-3874
Article type
Technical Innovation

Optical microplates for high-throughput screening of photosynthesis in lipid-producing algae

M. Chen, T. Mertiri, T. Holland and A. S. Basu, Lab Chip, 2012, 12, 3870
DOI: 10.1039/C2LC40478H

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