Given its ability to isolate pathogens, nuclei, and immune cells for downstream applications, cell sorting is an essential tool for immunological studies. Yet, the potential for aerosol formation—and the subsequent exposure to infectious materials—adds another layer of complexity to scientific research. To help alleviate some of this risk, the Flow Cytometry Core at Tulane National Primate Research Center (TNPRC) provides support to independent investigators including analytical services and live-cell sorting under enhanced biosafety level 2 (BSL2+) and BSL3.
To support infectious disease research, TNPRC is replacing its existing droplet sorter with a MACSQuant® Tyto® Cell Sorter in its BSL3 facility. This low-pressure, closed system has no external fluidics, zero waste, and uses a disposable cartridge. The formation of aerosols while sorting live pathogens is a key health concern for those operating any cell sorter. To measure the instrument’s ability to create aerosol formation, the TNPRC utilized a series of fluorescent polystyrene beads ranging from 50 nm to 1000 nm in diameter. Then, following the standard method of flow cytometry aerosol collection, aerosolized particles were measured using fluorescent microscopy.
After completing the comprehensive validation of the MACSQuant Tyto Cell Sorter, the TNPRC sampled four possible locations where aerosols could be formed and dispelled from the system, including from a vent under the sorting chamber, above the closed sorting chamber door, and two positions above the cartridge inside the sorting chamber. They discovered that the system failed to emit any detectable aerosols of any size from any sampled locations.
1. Understand how the Flow Cytometry Core at Tulane National Primate Research Center validated a cell sorter for BSL3 research.
2. Review the features of the MACSQuant Tyto Cell Sorter that make it uniquely fitted for infectious disease and immunology applications.