Microfluidic Apparatus For Respirometry

Executive Summary
Cellular respiration is a set of metabolic processes responsible for the conversion of chemical energy in all aerobic organisms. In animal and plant cells this takes place in the mitochondria where food is broken down to CO2 and strongly reducing compounds. Energy released upon oxidation of the latter by molecular oxygen via a chain or electron transfer reactions is then captured in the form of ATP which drives basic functions of a living cell.
Measuring respiration is key to understanding metabolic activity. While devices exist for measuring oxygen consumption, they require large sample sizes and are prone to interference from atmospheric oxygen. The requirement of large sample sizes inflates cost and eliminates the possibility of studying biological samples with limited availability such as human biopsy samples or small organs. MSU researchers have recently developed a new respirometer device that can measure metabolic changes in samples on a microscale level, with up to 1000x less material required than existing technologies.
Description of Technology
This invention is a respirometer device that can measure metabolic changes in samples on microscale. The device can measure oxygen uptake and biological currents with extremely small sample sizes. Both continuous flow and static measurements can be performed. The biological currents can be manipulated and the effect of such external stimuli such as drugs, toxins, nutrients, etc. on metabolism can be investigated across a wide timescale from minutes to days.
  • Microfluidic sample sizes (up to 1000x less than existing technologies)
  • Can be used with adherent or non-adherent specimen
  • Reusable, easily cleaned
  • Does not require extensive oxygen calibration protocols
  • Low oxygen permeability which eliminates interference from atmospheric oxygen
  • Optically transparent for remote sensing
  • Measurements as low as 3 minutes
  • Sampling of adherent samples over the course of days
  • Research instrument to study changes in metabolism in a spectrum of diseases
  • Clinical device to support individualized treatment plans
  • Drug screening
Patent Status
Licensing Rights
Full licensing rights available
Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Jon Debling
Technology Manager
Michigan State University