Process intensification by miniaturization, high-throughput, low operating and material costs, laminar fluid flow, precise control, and fluid manipulation, efficient heat and mass transfer. All of the above and more are key properties that define microfluidics, a science that has changed the paradigm of biochemical and chemical research and process development in the last three decades.
Droplet-based microfluidics is a subclass of microfluidics, where small droplets from 10-9 L to 10-15 L are generated. Droplets serve as isolated microbioreactors where various biological experiments can be performed. High throughput screening (HTS) experiments are the main and most important use of droplet-based microfluidics. A 1000-fold increase in throughput and a significant reduction of assay reagent cost can be obtained by using microfluidics for screening experiments. The main criteria for successful usage of a droplet-based microfluidics platform are an adequate selection of chemicals of a two-phase system, emulsion stability, successful encapsulation of biological material in droplets, detection and sorting, based on content analysis.
Development of a droplet microfluidic platform with intent to use it for HTS experiments is presented. Chemicals that meet the criteria for use in droplet microfluidics are reported. Different droplet generation conditions which ensure the creation of stable and monodisperse emulsion on various microfluidic chips are presented. The process of droplet generation chip made from polydimethylsiloxane fabrication is described. The coupled system of microfluidic chip and optical detector ODcube instant proved to be successful in carrying out detection experiments on droplets based on different concentrations of riboflavin standard laden droplets and has the potential to be used in future in a HTS experiment for selection of the best riboflavin producing microorganism mutant.