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J Struct Biol. 2003 Apr;142(1):180-7.

The promise of macromolecular crystallization in microfluidic chips.

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  • 1Universities Space Research Association, National Aeronautics and Space Administration/Marshall Space Flight Center, Mail Code SD46, Huntsville, AL 35812, USA.

Abstract

Microfluidics, or lab-on-a-chip technology, is proving to be a powerful, rapid, and efficient approach to a wide variety of bioanalytical and microscale biopreparative needs. The low materials consumption, combined with the potential for packing a large number of experiments in a few cubic centimeters, makes it an attractive technique for both initial screening and subsequent optimization of macromolecular crystallization conditions. Screening operations, which require a macromolecule solution with a standard set of premixed solutions, are relatively straightforward and have been successfully demonstrated in a microfluidics platform. Optimization methods, in which crystallization solutions are independently formulated from a range of stock solutions, are considerably more complex and have yet to be demonstrated. To be competitive with either approach, a microfluidics system must offer ease of operation, be able to maintain a sealed environment over several weeks to months, and give ready access for the observation and harvesting of crystals as they are grown.

PMID:
12718930
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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