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Biomed Mater. 2007 Jun;2(2):158-68. doi: 10.1088/1748-6041/2/2/015. Epub 2007 May 17.

Aerodynamically assisted bio-jets: the development of a novel and direct non-electric field-driven methodology for engineering living organisms.

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  • 1Department of Mechanical Engineering, University College London, Torrington Place, London WC1E 7JE, UK.


We recently demonstrated the ability to use electrified jets under stable conditions for the generation of cell-bearing droplets to the formation of composite threads which are biologically active. Our studies established that processed cells were viable over several generations post-jetting and -threading. These harmless and successful techniques for jet-based cell handling to deployment for precision deposition have great potential and widespread applications in bioengineering and biotechnology. Nonetheless, our investigations into 'bio-electrosprays' and 'cell electrospinning' have elucidated these jets having direct applicability in regenerative and therapeutic medicine to studies in developmental biology. For these very reasons, jet methodologies having the capability to safely handle living organisms for drop and placing are increasingly gaining the interests of life scientists. We now demonstrate yet another technique (a non-electric field-driven approach, previously never explored with jetting living cells), possessing the ability to directly handle the processing of primary living organisms by means of the flow of a cell suspension within a needle placed in a pressure chamber in the presence of an applied pressure difference. The technique we introduce here is referred to as 'aerodynamically assisted bio-jets/-jetting' which is driven completely by aerodynamic forces applied over an exit orifice by way of a differential pressure. Our investigations present an operational window in which stable jetting conditions are achieved for the formation of a near-monodispersed distribution of cell-bearing droplets and droplet residues. Finally, the aerodynamically bio-jetted living primary organisms are assessed (over both short and long time points) for cellular viability by means of FACScan, a flow cytometry technology which quantifies the percentage of living and dead cells. These advanced biophysical and bioengineering studies elucidate the emergence of a non-electric field-driven bio-jetting technology which now joins the cell jetting race.

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