Automated lab-on-a-chip technology for fish embryo toxicity tests performed under continuous microperfusion (muFET)

Feng Zhu, Adriana Wigh, Timo Friedrich, Alain Devaux, Sylvie Bony, Dayanthi Nugegoda, Jan Victor Kaslin, Donald Wlodkowic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The fish embryo toxicity (FET) biotest has gained popularity as one of the alternative approaches to acute fish toxicity tests in chemical hazard and risk assessment. Despite the importance and common acceptance of FET, it is still performed in multiwell plates and requires laborious and time-consuming manual manipulation of specimens and solutions. This work describes the design and validation of a microfluidic Lab-on-a-Chip technology for automation of the zebrafish embryo toxicity test common in aquatic ecotoxicology. The innovative device supports rapid loading and immobilization of large numbers of zebrafish embryos suspended in a continuous microfluidic perfusion as a means of toxicant delivery. Furthermore, we also present development of a customized mechatronic automation interface that includes a high-resolution USB microscope, LED cold light illumination, and miniaturized 3D printed pumping manifolds that were integrated to enable time-resolved in situ analysis of developing fish embryos. To investigate the applicability of the microfluidic FET (muFET) in toxicity testing, copper sulfate, phenol, ethanol, caffeine, nicotine, and dimethyl sulfoxide were tested as model chemical stressors. Results obtained on a chip-based system were compared with static protocols performed in microtiter plates. This work provides evidence that FET analysis performed under microperfusion opens a brand new alternative for inexpensive automation in aquatic ecotoxicology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14570 - 14578
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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