How is this possible? “For example, there are highly volatile chemicals that evaporate during the test. Or others that bind to the wall of the well plates and are therefore less available to the cells,” Schirmer explains. Both effects can be amplified in the small volumes – due to the unfavourable volume-surface ratios coupled with the small amount of biological material. However, according to Schirmer, doing without small-scale tests would be the wrong approach, since the small amounts of chemical and the possibility of investigating many test variants simultaneously are efficient and save resources.
Therefore, researchers have so far made do by measuring the concentrations during the experiments. Although this led to accurate results, it also required time, material and money. “In terms of effort, this is comparable to conducting a second experiment at the same time,” Schirmer explains. The goal was thus clear: to find a way to predict the concentrations accurately without measuring.