Biomedical Microdevices

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 1051–1059 | Cite as

Microfluidic sedimentation cytometer for milk quality and bovine mastitis monitoring

  • Jose L. Garcia-Cordero
  • Louise M. Barrett
  • Richard O’Kennedy
  • Antonio J. Ricco


We report a rapid, low-cost, portable microfluidic sedimentation cytometer (SeCy) for assessing the somatic cell count and fat content of milk in 15 min using a “sample-in, answer-out” approach. The system consists of 12 independent microfluidic devices, essentially flattened funnel structures, fabricated on the footprint of a single plastic compact disc (CD). Each funnel structure holds 150 μL of milk, has an inlet for milk filling and an outlet for air to escape, and ends in a narrow, closed-end microfluidic channel that facilitates packing of the cells into a column whose length is proportional to cell count. The closed-end channel provides accurate cell counts over the range 50,000–>3,000,000 cells per mL. The assay separates cells and fat globules based on their densities (by differential sedimentation), concentrating white cells in the closed-end channel near the outer rim of the CD for estimation of total “cell pellet” volume, while fat globules move toward the center of disc rotation, forming a fat “band” in the funnel. After adding milk to two or more microfluidic devices, the CD is loaded onto a custom-built reader unit that spins the disc for 15 min. Two low-cost microscopes in the reader image the centrifuged cell pellet and the fat band, providing a sufficiently accurate cell count to diagnose mastitis and measuring fat content as an indication of health and nutritional status.


Bovine mastitis Milk Cytometer Centrifugal microfluidics Sedimentation Cell-counter Somatic cells Sample-to-answer device 



This work was supported by Science Foundation Ireland under Grant No. 05/CE3/B754. We are grateful to Jim Flynn and Brendan Kavanagh in Teagasc, MoorePark for providing and analyzing milk samples in the MilkoScan system. We also acknowledge Lorcan Kent for help with SEM images and Caroline Viguier for help during initial experiments. We thank Prof. Luke P. Lee for helpful discussions and Ivan Dimov for helping with image analysis. We also thank Dr. Holger Becker of Microfluidic ChipShop for helpful discussions in adapting our CD design to the injection molding process.

Supplementary material

10544_2010_9459_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (2.8 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 2.76 MB)


  1. J.R. Ashes, S.K. Gulati, T.W. Scott, J. Dairy Sci. 80(9), 2204–2212 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. D.A. Ateya, J.S. Erickson, P.B. Howell, L.R. Hilliard, J.P. Golden, F.S. Ligler, Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 391(5), 1485–1498 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. E. Berry, N. Middleton, M. Gravenor, J.E. Hillerton, Science (or art) of cell counting. Proceedings of the British Mastisis Conference, (2003)Google Scholar
  4. X. Cheng, Y.S. Liu, D. Irimia, U. Demirci, L.J. Yang, L. Zamir, W.R. Rodriguez, M. Toner, R. Bashir, Lab Chip 7(6), 746–755 (2007a)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. X.H. Cheng, D. Irimia, M. Dixon, K. Sekine, U. Demirci, L. Zamir, R.G. Tompkins, W. Rodriguez, M. Toner, Lab Chip 7(2), 170–178 (2007b)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. X.H. Cheng, A. Gupta, C.C. Chen, R.G. Tompkins, W. Rodriguez, M. Toner, Lab Chip 9(10), 1357–1364 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. T.D. Chung, H.C. Kim, Electrophoresis 28(24), 4511–4520 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. J.A. Davis, D.W. Inglis, K.J. Morton, D.A. Lawrence, L.R. Huang, S.Y. Chou, J.C. Sturm, R.H. Austin, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 103(40), 14779–84 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. A. Donev, I. Cisse, D. Sachs, E. Variano, F.H. Stillinger, R. Connelly, S. Torquato, P.M. Chaikin, Science 303(5660), 990–993 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. D.O. Forcato, M.P. Carmine, G.E. Echeverria, R.P. Pecora, S.C. Kivatinitz, J. Dairy Sci. 88(2), 478–481 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. P.F. Fox, P.L.H. McSweeney, Advanced Dairy Chemistry: Lipids, vol. 2 (Springer, USA, 2003)Google Scholar
  12. D. Fromer, D. Lerche, Arc. Appl. Mech. 72(2–3), 85–95 (2002)Google Scholar
  13. J. Garcia-Cordero, L. Kent, I. Dimov, C. Viguier, L. Lee, A. Ricco, Microfluidic CD-Based Somatic Cell Counter for the Early Detection of Bovine Mastitis. 12th International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences, microTAS, San Diego (2008)Google Scholar
  14. C. Gonzalo, J.C. Boixo, J.A. Carriedo, F. San Primitivo, J. Dairy Sci. 87(11), 3623–3628 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. R.J. Harmon, J. Dairy Sci. 77(7), 2103–2112 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. J.E. Hillerton, E.A. Berry, Quality of the milk supply: Europe and regulations versus practice, National Mastitis Council Annual Meeting Proceedings 207–214 (2004)Google Scholar
  17. J.E. Hillerton, E.A. Berry, J. Appl, Microbiol. 98(6), 1250–1255 (2005)Google Scholar
  18. D. Huh, W. Gu, Y. Kamotani, J.B. Grotberg, S. Takayama, Physiol. Meas. 26(3), R73–R98 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. K. Huijps, T.J.G.M. Lam, H. Hogeveen, J. Dairy Res. 75(1), 113–120 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. D.W. Inglis, K.J. Morton, J.A. Davis, T.J. Zieziulewicz, D.A. Lawrence, R.H. Austin, J.C. Sturm, Lab Chip 8(6), 925–31 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. M.E. Kehrli, D.E. Shuster, J. Dairy Sci. 77(2), 619–627 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. D.M. Leatzow, B.J. Van Wie, B.N. Weyrauch, T.O. Tiffany, Anal. Chim. Acta 435(2), 299–307 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. C.S. Lee, F.B.P. Wooding, P. Kemp, J. Dairy Res. 47(1), 39–50 (1980)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. K.E. Leslie, J.T. Jansen, G.H. Lim, Opportunities and implications for improved on-farm cowside diagnostics. Proc. DeLaval Hygiene Symp. (2002)Google Scholar
  25. J.S. Moon, H.C. Koo, Y.S. Joo, S.H. Jeon, D.S. Hur, C.I. Chung, H.S. Jo, Y.H. Park, J. Dairy Sci. 90(5), 2253–2259 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. C. Nightingale, K. Dhuyvetter, R. Mitchell, Y. Schukken, J. Dairy Sci. 91(3), 1236–1244 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. S. Pyorala, Vet. Res. 34(5), 565–578 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Y.H. Schukken, D.J. Wilson, F. Welcome, L. Garrison-Tikofsky, R.N. Gonzalez, Vet. Res. 34(5), 579–596 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. P. Sethu, A. Sin, M. Toner, Lab Chip 6(1), 83–89 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. C. Viguier, S. Arora, N. Gilmartin, K. Welbeck, R. O’Kennedy, Trends Biotechnol. 27(8), 486–493 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. P. Walstra, in Advanced Dairy Chemistry, ed. by P.F. Fox (Chapman & Hall, London, 1995), pp. 131–151Google Scholar
  32. P. Walstra, T.J. Geurts, A. Noomen, A. Jellema, M.A.J.S. van Boekel, Dairy Technology: Principles of Milk Properties and Processes (Marcel Dekker, NY, USA, 1999)Google Scholar
  33. J.J. Windig, M.P. Calus, R.F. Veerkamp, in Mastitis in Dairy Production: Current Knowledge and Future Solutions, ed. by H. Hogeveen (Wageningen Academic Publishers, The Netherlands, 2005), pp. 254–259Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jose L. Garcia-Cordero
    • 1
  • Louise M. Barrett
    • 1
  • Richard O’Kennedy
    • 1
  • Antonio J. Ricco
    • 1
  1. 1.Biomedical Diagnostics Institute, National Centre for Sensor ResearchDublin City UniversityDublin 9Ireland

Personalised recommendations