Syringe Pump Applications In Bioscience & Biochemistry

In an era when biochemical research goes down to a single cell or even a single molecule level, there is a constant demand for ever more precise equipment. Considering that an accurate administration of small amounts of liquid is an imperative in any contemporary biochemical laboratory, the past few decades saw a vivid evolution of syringe pumps, carefully constructed and adapted for targeted biochemical experiments. The applications in biochemistry are many, spanning stereotaxic injections, flow cytometry, mass spec, down to micro and nanofluidic research. Chemyx offers a wide range of these devices with characteristics specifically tailored for a multitude of biochemical applications where pulseless, high precision liquid delivery is crucial. This short review is aimed to elaborate on the utility of syringe pumps in biochemical research, suggesting an optimal device for your day to day use.

Stereotaxic injections

Stereotaxic injections have been widely used in neuroscience for in vivo delivery of agents to targeted brain structures of experimental animals. Syringe pumps are a part of a complex system encompassing a stereotaxic frame and a stereotaxic atlas, assuring an accurate placement of biochemical agents. Efficient delivery is the most critical part of stereotaxic surgery when it comes to carrying chemical tracers, viral vectors, or experimental drugs. Ongoing research employing this technology is setting path to future treatments of Parkinson’s and brain malignancies. Chemyx offers a number of products suitable for most applications requiring stereotactic injections. The Chemyx Fusion series, like Fusion 100, Fusion 101 and Fusion 200 are cost-effective yet highly reliable user friendly instruments capable of pulseless administration for advanced dosing protocols. For even more sophisticated applications, Chemyx NanoJet syringe pump offers an unparalleled opportunity for precision remote injections, with a distant MRI-compatible infusion system. This state of the art instrument was specially designed with the ability to detach the header of the system in order to mount on stereotaxic frames. Among other things, Chemyx NanoJet was successfully utilized for stereotaxic delivery of silencing agents to superior colliculus of a rat in a research on visual cortex functioning [1].

Microfluidic platforms

The lab-on-a-chip paradigm evoked a revolution in biochemical research offering a high precision alternative to traditional research methods with very low sample volume requirements. Microfluidic platforms are an exciting new class of devices that integrate a multitude of biochemical techniques into a single chip, reducing experiments to a micro- or nano- scale. The interior of these chips consists of an intertwined network of microscopic channels, designed to combine small amounts of experimental liquid with adhering biomaterial. The technology was primarily developed for investigating interaction of fluids on a micrometer scale; however, biochemistry research largely benefited from microchips, enabling breakthroughs in single cell, DNA, protein and enzymatic analysis. Microfluidic platforms are suitable for optical detection technologies, magnetic manipulation, surface acoustic wave technology, and chip mass spec.

DNA chips or microarrays are perhaps the most widely used microfluidic platforms currently in laboratory practice. These are compilations of DNA fragments attached to a solid surface, intended for simultaneous genotypisation of multiple regions or measuring expression levels of multiple genes. Another common use of microchips in biochemistry are surface plasmon resonance assays intended for biochemical interaction analysis. Recent studies report the use of microfluidic chips as flow microreactors for enzymatic biosynthesis [2]. On-chip flow cytometry and mass spec platforms have also been developed, significantly reducing reagent consumption needed for conventional analysis.

Microfluidic platforms require a precise, reproducible administration of liquids. As difficulties in flow responsiveness cause problems in microfluidic experiments, Chemyx syringe pumps are specifically designed to minimize flow oscillation for applications in microfluidics. Chemyx Fusion 200 offers high precision infuse/withdrawal syringe pumps optimal for microfluidics dosing. This system is compatible with an expanded 10 channel syringe wrack, allowing for multiple parallel infusions, further boosting throughput. A successful application on a microfluidic chip was demonstrated by Chung et al (2016) for growth solution delivery in the study of pathological biomineralization [3], while Rosenauer and colleagues (2010) utilized it for Characterization of a microflow cytometer with an integrated three-dimensional optofluidic lens system [4]. Chemyc Nexus 6000 syringe pump was employed for for microfluidic dosing multiple times. In a research by Reis et al (2015) it was used for studying wound healing in three dimensional fibrous constructs [5]. The same product was employed in regenerative medicine research for creating concentration gradients of soluble compounds over a monolayer of cells [6].

Nanofluidic Platforms

The incorporation of nano-channels into microfluidic devices made it possible to capture and analyze single cells. This technology uses extremely small sample sizes ranging in femtolitter to attolitter ratios, several magnitudes smaller than a single cell. This allows for lysis, nucleic acid extraction and real time analysis of trapped cells. Biomimetic microchips are nanofluidic platforms designed to simulate biological systems in nanometer sized spaces. They are a valuable tool in drug discovery and cancer research. Nanofluidic chips also enable an accurate monitoring of biomolecules without chemical labeling by means of electrokinetic trapping. The Chemyx Fusion pump 200 is a cost effective device capable of moving fluids through nanochannels. For more advanced performances, Fusion 4000 is an excellent option, while Fusion 6000 is designed for administration of viscous fluids and semi-solid material against pressure.

Some of the successful applications include Chemyx Fusion 100 for creating silver silica nanoparticles delivered to bacteria to boost photoantibactrial activity [7], and Chemyx Fusion 200 for the production of a hybrid nanogenerator harvesting biochemical energy [8].

Flow Cytometry

Flow cytometry is a widely used technique in contemporary biochemical research. It enables an analysis of multiple characteristics of a single cell as well as cell sorting based on specific molecule expression in heterogeneous cell populations. As flow cytometers generally measure small amounts of cells in relatively large volumes, a successful experiment is highly dependent on a finely tuned insertion of samples. Once more, Chemyx 200 is a perfect candidate for this job. A recent study measured fluorescence lifetime shifts of NAD(P)H during apoptosis by flow cytometry, taking advantage of Chemyx 200 qualities [9]. Apart from superior performance, it should not be overlooked that this is a budget friendly instrument, making it a good choice for applications both in biochemical research and in clinical practice. Another example of Chemyx products driving the injection process in flow cytometry is Nexus 3000, used for sample multimode acoustic focusing for parallel flow cytometry [10].

Mass Spec

Mass spectrometry is an analytical tool often utilized in biochemical research in order to identify unknown compounds in a mixture. It relies on ionizing samples, measuring the mass-to-charge ratio of molecules and thereby inferring their molecular masses. The simplest form of this technique is direct infusion mass spectrometry. It involves pumping the analyte directly into the device at constant flow. This method is typically used in biochemistry for validating the identity of biomolecules and characterizing proteins or protein complexes. Chemyx syringe pumps are used for sample injection as well as calibration purposes. Chemyx Fusion 100 and OEM syringe pumps are highly recommended for this purpose. They are designed for high precision, steady flow dosing purposes, necessary for high precision administration of samples and calibration solutions.

HPLC

High performance liquid chromatography is an analytical technique widely used in biochemical research, intended to separate and identify extremely low concentrations of analytes in a sample. In principle, a solvent in a mobile phase is pumped into a chromatography column at high pressure, where it interacts with molecules from a stationary phase. The use of syringe pumps gives rise to most accurate and reproducible results when it comes to providing pulseless continuous flow rates. Chemyx Fusion series, including Fusion 100, 101 and 200 are instruments of choice for high precision administration of sample.

Concluding remarks

Chemyx scientific grade syringe pumps are carefully designed to accommodate the majority of applications in biochemistry. An unparalleled performance and reliability, combined with affordable prices make these devices an excellent equipment when advanced precision dosing comes to question.

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