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Biomicrofluidics. 2010 Aug 26;4(3). pii: 034109. doi: 10.1063/1.3481777.

Contraction and extension of Vorticella and its mechanical characterization under flow loading.

Abstract

We have studied the contraction and extension of Vorticella convallaria and its mechanical properties with a microfluidic loading system. Cells of V. convallaria were injected to a microfluidic channel (500 μm in width and 100 μm in height) and loaded by flow up to ∼350 mm s(-1). The flow produced a drag force on the order of nanonewton on a typical vorticellid cell body. We gradually increased the loading force on the same V. convallaria specimen and examined its mechanical property and stalk motion of V. convallaria. With greater drag forces, the contraction distance linearly decreased; the contracted length was close to around 90% of the stretched length. We estimated the drag force on Vorticella in the channel by calculating the force on a sphere in a linear shear flow.

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