Cell Separation and Buoyancy Activated Cell Sorting (BACS™)

What Is Cell Separation?


Cell separation is the process of removing one cell population from another within a biological sample, such as blood or tissue. (FAQ: What is cell separation and cell sorting?)

Example uses of cell separation include:

  • Capture of circulating tumor cells from blood
  • Separation of pathogenic bacteria from food
  • Isolation of immune cells from peripheral blood

There are three different cell separation approaches, including:

  • Positive Selection
  • Depletion
  • Negative Selection

Cell separation technologies include:

  • FACS (fluorescence activated cell sorting)
  • MACS (magnetic activated cell sorting)
  • BACS (buoyancy activated cell sorting)
  • Other technologies, such as microfluidics, centrifugation, and filtration
Cell separation is the isolation of particular cell populations from a mixed population

Akadeum Has Developed a New Way to Sort Cells

Microbubbles engage and label target cells, and buoyantly rise to the surface of the sample, allowing easy separation of target cells from non-target cells

Akadeum’s core product is based on buoyancy-activated cell sorting (BACS™). It uses microscopic microbubbles to capture target cells and quickly float them to the surface of a liquid sample for removal. After removal, cells can be used to perform downstream testing and analysis.

Essentially, the product captures cells, concentrates them, and cleans up the sample significantly.

Making cells float that would otherwise sink allows them to be isolated to a high level of purity. Additionally, buoyancy works in combination with other cell separation methods, such as magnetic activated cell sorting and flow sorting.

Contact us today to learn more about microbubbles or to give them a try.

Why are BACS™ Microbubbles Different?

Fluorescence microscopy of two glass microbubbles (blue), and one glass microbubble (blue) attached to one anti-CD45-PE stained leukocyte (yellow).

Because BACS™ uses buoyancy, it behaves in ways that are superior to other cell separation methods such as magnetic cell sorting or flow cytometry-based sorting.

BACS™ provides the following benefits:

  • No magnet – There are no magnets to purchase and store, and no harsh and variable forces.
  • No column – Microbubbles quickly float to the top of any container, regardless of size or shape.
  • Ease – All that is needed are microbubbles and cells—buoyancy will take care of the rest.
  • Compatibility – Microbubbles can be combined with flow cytometry and magnetic sorting workflows, and downstream analytic platforms, including PCR, genomics, NMR, and microscopy.
  • Gentleness – Your cells will be healthier and happier than if using other separation methods.