Biomedical Microdevices

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 717–725

Directed transport of bacteria-based drug delivery vehicles: bacterial chemotaxis dominates particle shape


  • Ali Sahari
    • School of Biomedical Engineering and SciencesVirginia Tech–Wake Forest University
  • Mahama A. Traore
    • Department of Mechanical EngineeringVirginia Tech
  • Birgit E. Scharf
    • Department of Biological SciencesVirginia Tech
    • School of Biomedical Engineering and SciencesVirginia Tech–Wake Forest University
    • Department of Mechanical EngineeringVirginia Tech

DOI: 10.1007/s10544-014-9876-y

Cite this article as:
Sahari, A., Traore, M.A., Scharf, B.E. et al. Biomed Microdevices (2014) 16: 717. doi:10.1007/s10544-014-9876-y


Several attenuated and non-pathogenic bacterial species have been demonstrated to actively target diseased sites and successfully deliver plasmid DNA, proteins and other therapeutic agents into mammalian cells. These disease-targeting bacteria can be employed for targeted delivery of therapeutic and imaging cargos in the form of a bio-hybrid system. The bio-hybrid drug delivery system constructed here is comprised of motile Escherichia coli MG1655 bacteria and elliptical disk-shaped polymeric microparticles. The transport direction for these vehicles can be controlled through biased random walk of the attached bacteria in presence of chemoattractant gradients in a process known as chemotaxis. In this work, we utilize a diffusion-based microfluidic platform to establish steady linear concentration gradients of a chemoattractant and investigate the roles of chemotaxis and geometry in transport of bio-hybrid drug delivery vehicles. Our experimental results demonstrate for the first time that bacterial chemotactic response dominates the effect of body shape in extravascular transport; thus, the non-spherical system could be more favorable for drug delivery applications owing to the known benefits of using non-spherical particles for vascular transport (e.g. relatively long circulation time).


BacteriaBotsDrug deliveryBacterial chemotaxisMicrofluidicsParticle shape

Supplementary material

10544_2014_9876_MOESM1_ESM.docx (409 kb)
ESM 1(DOCX 409 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014