NASA Ames GeneSat-1 successfully completed a zero G bio-organism growth experiment with E. coli incubated in a custom bio-micro fluidic cell culture card supplied by ALine
Redondo Beach, California – April 17, 2007 – ALine, Inc., a leading manufacturer of bio micro fluidic products, supplied the custom cell culture card that supported the successful, zero-G, bacterial growth experiment that flew on board the that was launched on December 16, 2006. Once the satellite was in orbit, the autonomous incubation of the E. coli cultures was initiated by an increase in temperature and the infusion of a nutrient solution to each of the membrane isolated cell culture wells built into the laminated micro-fluidic structure of the bio-compatible polymer card. The bacterial growth was monitored for 96 hours by miniaturized optical back scattering and fluorescence detection positioned to observe both sides of each of the cell culture wells through the optical and UV transparent polymer walls. Each of the ten bacterial cell cultures grew rapidly in ALine’s bio-micro fluidic card and successfully expressed the fluorescence signature of their special genetic marker.
Upon reviewing the mission science data, Dr. Antonio Ricco, the Director of the National Center for Space Biological Technologies at Stanford University, one of the key academic organizations contributing to the GeneSat-1 mission, congratulated ALine on the success of its bio micro fluidic cell culture card. “Everything has worked flawlessly, including the fluidics! The organisms grew and glowed, and the sensors all worked. It really could not have functioned any better. I know you can appreciate how rewarding this is after being one of the key participants in the development of the payload over the past 3 years.”
Dr. Leanna Levine, President and CEO of ALine, Inc. was pleased to receive the good news about the scientific success of the first GeneSat space mission, as well as the report that ALine’s custom cell culture card performed flawlessly in orbit. “One of the keys to the success of the custom fluidic card, especially in a zero-G environment, was the use of ALine’s innovative process for inserting porous membranes at the inlet and outlet of each cell culture well. This feature allowed a single micro-fluidic inlet channel to automatically feed all ten sample wells with the nutrient solution required to initiate cell growth without any loss of bacterial cells or cross contamination while the satellite was in orbit.”
The GeneSat-1 technology demonstration program is a collaboration of NASA Ames Research Center, industry and universities whose objective is to better understand the biological effects of the space flight environment, particularly space radiation and reduced gravity. This will help enable the development of countermeasures to these biological effects, which will be critical for safe long-duration crewed space missions and for the development of safe space tourism. The small “nano” satellites that ride as secondary payloads on other mission launches to reduce costs, require the development of fully-automated, miniaturized systems that provide life support, nutrient delivery, and scientific analysis for each experiment and then return the results to earth through a telemetry link. For more information about the ALine cell culture card that flew on GeneSat-1.
For the GeneSat-1 mission, ALine used its innovative laminate fabrication method to build a custom cell culture card for Genesat-1 incorporating multiple sheets and films of bio-compatible materials that were precision patterned and cut with a laser to form the desired wells, channels, and fluidic functions. Ten sample wells and two control wells were fabricated into the final device. In addition, the sophisticated functionality, design flexibility, and rapid prototyping capability inherent to ALine’s bio-micro fluidic laminate technology made it possible to provide the payload engineering team with working parts at all stages of system integration, and ground based testing. This allowed the quick turn of design changes as well as the availability of parts for early sub-system testing.
ALine provides its customers in medical research, medical instrumentation, medical diagnostics, laboratory instrumentation, field instrumentation, and flight-rated payloads with a sophisticated array of standard and custom bio micro fluidic solutions. The solutions are based on its versatile, biocompatible, precision laser cut, multi-layer polymer laminate technology for rapid prototyping and volume manufacture. With its advanced capabilities and efficient manufacturing, ALine has delivered advanced bio micro standard products and custom card solutions that incorporate a wide range of sophisticated functions. These features include cell culture wells, sample chambers, separation membranes, fluidic lines, fluidic trees, fluidic valves, pumps and reservoirs, optical and UV observation windows, sensor interfaces, and fluidic, pneumatic, and electronic control interfaces.
To read more about the development and performance of a fluidic card for the NASA Ames GeneSat-1 program for autonomous cell culture experiments in space, see the full article published from the 2007 NSTI Nanotech conference proceedings.
Dr. Leanna Levine