The design and production of new labware is a long and time consuming process and relegated to few big companies. Three-dimensional printing techniques are continuously evolving and now allow the design and testing of individual labware prototypes. 3D printing in biotechnological laboratories has to meet several standards: The material used for printing has to be biocompatible and it also has to be chemically stable. Since labware for cell culture needs to be sterilized, the material has to be resistant to high temperatures and radiation.
Sascha Beutel, Leibniz University, Hanover, Germany, and colleagues used a 3D printed well plate for the cultivation of eukaryotic cells. In contrast to standard circular wells, the well plate design was modified to include different geometries (pictured). The novel design increases the turbulent mixing in the wells and thereby increased oxygen intake into the culture medium. This leads to higher growth rates of cultivated yeast compared to a standard circular well.
This shows that using 3D printing, new designs for labware can be rapidly tested and the labware can be adapted to special needs of an organism in biotechnological research.
- 3D-printed individual labware in biosciences by rapid prototyping: In vitro biocompatibility and applications for eukaryotic cell cultures,
Tim H. Lücking, Franziska Sambale, Birte Schnaars, David Bulnes-Abundis, Sascha Beutel, Thomas Scheper,
Eng. Life Sci. 2014.
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