Pollen tubes are an excellent model for the investigation of plant cell growth: they elongate at very high rates and are easily cultured in vitro. One major constraint in the study of pollen tube growth has been the difficulty in providing an in vitro testing environment that physically resembles the in vivo conditions. This work presents the development of a microfluidic platform for the study and manipulation of individual pollen tubes. The platform is fabricated from polydimethylsiloxane using a Silicon/SU-8 mold and makes use of microfluidics to distribute pollen grains to serially arranged microchannels into which the tubes grow to allow for individual testing. A 2D finite element fluid analysis is done to assist optimization of the architectural design. Validation of the device is carried out by growing Camellia japonica pollen. Results show that pollen tube germination and growth rate within the microfluidic network are similar to those obtained in conventional plate or batch assays. The microfluidic network allows for specific testing of a variety of structural features as demonstrated with a simple collision test, and it permits the straightforward integration of further single-cell test assays.
Agudelo, CG, A Sanati, M Ghanbari, M Packirisamy, A Geitmann
Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering