We present a microfluidic device capable of patterning linear biofilm formations using a flow templating approach. We describe the design considerations and fabrication methodology of a two level flow-templating micro-bioreactor (FT-μBR), which generates a biofilm growth stream surrounded on 3 sides by a growth inhibiting confinement stream. Through a combination of experiments and simulations we comprehensively evaluate and exploit control parameters to manipulate the biofilm growth template stream dimensions. The FT-μBR is then used to grow biofilm patterns with controllable dimensions. A proof-of-principle study using the device demonstrates its utility in conducting biofilm growth rate measurements under different shear stress environments. This opens the way for quantitative studies into the effects of the local shear environment on biofilm properties and for the synthesis of a new generation of functional biomaterials with controllable properties.
Aznaveh, Nahid Babaei, Muhammad Safdar, Gideon Wolfaardt, Jesse Greener