University of Illinois at Chicago
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Towards 25 Billionths of a Liter

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posted on 2011-01-26, 00:00 authored by Sujeewa Piyankarage
Although fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) is an extensively used animal model in biology, attaining organism-level samples from this tiny insect for chemical characterization has been a challenge. Previously I developed a sampling method that enabled chemical analyses of individual fruit-fly larval blood known as hemolymph (Piyankarage et al. Anal. Chem. 2008). Illustrated here is an even challenging adult fruit-fly hemolymph sampling technique. The magnified image in the centre shows an adult male fruit fly and the tip of the sampling probe (50-µm inner diameter) that enabled collection of 25 billionths of a liter (nano liter/nL) of fly-hemolymph. The image on top left comparatively illustrates the size of adult flies, larva, and sampling probe tips by gluing them on a dime (note the letters E and DI of the ONE DIME coin). On the bottom left is the sampling probe tip with Tygon tubing, which connects the tip to a vacuum pump to pull hemolymph. An image of diluted fluorescent-tagged fly-hemolymph sample is shown on bottom right while a resultant electropherogram (a chart) from the sample analyses is shown as the border. All the images were captured through a microscope due to the small size of the objects.


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Entry in 2009 in The Image of Research, a competition for students in graduate or professional degree programs at UIC, sponsored by UIC's Graduate College and the University Library. Images of award recipients and honorable mention images on exhibition in the Richard J. Daley Library and the Library of the Health Sciences, April 16-May 12, 2009.

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