• milk;
  • acoustophoresis;
  • ultrasound;
  • somatic cell count;
  • label free;
  • microfluidic chip


A microfluidic system for cell enumeration in raw milk was developed. The new method, preconditions the milk sample using acoustophoresis that removes lipid particles which are larger than a few micrometers. The acoustophoretic preprocessing eliminates the need for conventional sample preparation techniques, which include chemical solvents, cell labeling and centrifugation, and facilitates rapid cell enumeration using microscopy or coulter counter measurements. By introducing an acoustic standing wave with three pressure nodes in a microchannel at the same time as the milk sample is laminated to the channel center, lipids are acoustically driven to the closest pressure antinode at each side of the channel center and the cells in the milk sample are focused in the central pressure node. The extracted center fraction with cells becomes sufficiently clean from lipid vesicles to enable enumeration of somatic cells without any labeling step either by direct light microscopy or by coulter counting. Obtained lipid free milk fractions clearly revealed the cell fraction when analyzed by Coulter Counting. Cell counting as measured by a Coulter Counter after acoustophoretic lipid depletion aligned with the corresponding data obtained by reference measurements based on fluorescence staining and subsequent flow cytometer analysis. © 2012 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry