Autonomous cell sorting using self-secreted macromolecules

  • Min Jung Kim
  • Jae Ryoun YounEmail author
  • Young Seok SongEmail author
Research Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Particle motion in non-Newtonian microfluidics


Much effort has been made to manipulate cells for many biomedical and environmental applications. However, controlling cells in efficient and sustainable ways is still an essential task to achieve in both science and engineering fields. Here, we introduced a strategic approach in which cells are autonomously sorted and separated in a fluidic system. We employed ‘self-secreted macromolecules’ from microalgae in the microfluidic devices and examined their various properties. The cell manipulation was determined depending on the intrinsic properties of the self-secreted biomolecules. The macromolecules self-produced by green algae allowed the size-based separation of cells. This self-sorting system would enable the design and fabrication of new types of biosystems such as bioreactors and pharmaceutical devices.

Graphic abstract


Extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) Microalgae Microfluidics Cell manipulation 



This work was supported by GRRC program of Gyeonggi Province (GRRC Dankook2016–B03). In addition, this research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (2018R1D1A1B07049173) and by the Korea government (MSIT) (No. NRF-2018R1A5A1024127). Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT) grant funded by the Korea Government (MOTIE) (P0002007, The Competency Development Program for Industry Specialist). The authors are grateful for the supports.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare the following competing financial interest(s).

Supplementary material

Movie S1. Separation of Sphaerocystis schroeteri the self-secreted macromolecules with a flow rate of 400 μl/hr (Re = 0.122, Wi = 88.9). The trajectories of different size cell were observed at the outlet. (AVI 1569 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Research Institute of Advanced Materials (RIAM)Seoul National UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Fiber System EngineeringDankook UniversityGyeonggi-doSouth Korea

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