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Keywords:

  • microcapsualtion;
  • poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate;
  • microfluidic chip;
  • E. coli

Abstract

We report herein an effective strategy for encapsulating Escherichia coli in polyethylene glycol diacrylate (PEGDA) microdroplets using a microfluidic device and chemical polymerization. PEGDA was employed as a reactant due to the biocompatibility, high porosity, and hydrophilic property. The uniform size and shape of microdroplets are obtained in a single-step process using microfluidic device. The size of microdroplets can be controlled through the changing continuous flow rate. The combination of microdroplet generation and chemical polymerization techniques provide unique environment to produce non-toxic ways of fabricating microorganism-encapsulated hydrogel microbeads. Due to these unique properties of micro-sized hydrogel microbeads, the encapsulated E. coli can maintain viability inside of microbeads and green fluorescent protein (GFP) and red fluorescent protein (RFP) genes are efficiently expressed inside of microbeads after isopropyl-β-D-thiogalactopyranoside induction, suggesting that there is no low-molecular weight substrate transfer limitation inside of microbeads. Furthermore, non-toxic, gentle, and outstanding biocompatibility of microbeads, the encapsulated E. coli can be used in various applications including biotransformation, biosensing, bioremediation, and engineering of artificial cells. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2010;107:747–751. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.