wMicroTracker – 24/7 Automated Data Collection

The wMicroTracker measures overall locomotor activity and viability of your worms such as C. elegans and parasitic nematodes cultured in liquid media and in multi-well plates. Its nonlabor-intensive automated assay is capable of providing a simple overnight readout which requires no additional processing. 

This system is optimized for measuring C. elegans in liquid media and is also designed for high-throughput screening assays to evaluate the biological effects of potential compounds/drugs, as well as for mutant phenotyping studies in small nematodes.

With the wMicroTracker’s 24/7 automated data collection capability, you can:

  • Automatically measure worm movement in both large and small populations .
  • Perform live worm assays for several weeks at a time with high reproducibility of data.
  • Load your experiment, set your parameters and walk away. Your data will be ready for you at the end of the programmed time.

WMicroTracker demo video

The wMicroTracker gives you data comparable to a thrashing assay, only 10 times faster. The wMicroTracker quantifies the locomotor activity of a worm population in a 96 well plate with 30-70 animals per well. Data acquisition and analysis are automated and simultaneous. All activity is normalized to N2 controls.

WMicroTracker Toxicity Assay

Toxicity assay. The dose-response effect of oxidative stress on C. elegans locomotor activity over time can be observed. Worms were exposed to a reactive oxygen species (ROS) generating compound. Each concentration was tested four times, using 30-70 animals per well in a 96-well plate.

Lifespan assay. The decreased lifespan of skn-1 mutants can be observed. Samples were recorded for 1 hour once per day, four times per condition.

Key Advantages:

  • Automatically quantify worm movement
  • Long-term, consistent data acquisition
  • No user bias, no tedious training

Key Features:

  • Works with 96-well plate (Download the protocol)
  • Worms can be measured in liquid media
  • Automatic temperature monitoring
WMicrotracker Features
Liquid Culture
Works with 96 well microplates (Greiner)
Fits in an incubator (for temp. control)
Toxicity Assays
Acute drug exposure
Stress Response
Requires multiple worms/plate or well
Temperature monitoring

Ordering Information:

ProductCat. No.Price
WMicroTracker (PC included)MTK100$17,600

Recent Publications

C. elegans

  1. Caenorhabditis elegans Infrared-Based Motility Assay Identified New Hits for Nematicide Drug Development. Risi G, Aguilera E, Ladós E, Suárez G, Carrera I, Álvarez G7, Salinas G. Vet Sci. 2019 Mar 17;6(1). pii: E29.
  2. C. elegans Development and Activity Test Detects Mammalian Developmental Neurotoxins. Piper Reid Hunt; Nicholas Olejnik; Keenan D. Bailey; Cory A. Vaught; Robert L. Sprando. Food Chem Toxicol. 2018 Nov;121:583-592.
  3. Active principles of Tetradenia riparia. IV. Anthelmintic activity of 8(14),15-sandaracopimaradiene-7α,18-diol. Luc Van Puyvelde; Maoxuan Liu; Cedrick Veryser; Wim M. De Borggraeve; Joseph Mungarulire; Marie Jeanne Mukazayire; Walter Luyten. J Ethnopharmacol. 2018 Apr 24;216:229-232.
  4. Rescue of ATXN3 neuronal toxicity in C . elegans by chemical modification of ER stress. Fardghassemi Y ; Tauffenberger A ; Gosselin S ; Parker JA. Dis Model Mech. 2017 Dec 19;10(12):1465-1480.
  5. A rapid chemical ­genetic screen utilizing impaired movement phenotypes in C . elegans : Input into genetics of neurodevelopmental disorders. Schmeisser K ; Fardghassemi Y; Parker JA. Exp Neurol. 2017 Jul;293:101-114.
  6. Twitchin kinase inhibits muscle activity. Matsunaga Y ; Hwang H ; Franke B ; Williams R ; Penley M ; Qadota H ; Yi H ; Morran LT ; Lu H ; Mayans O ; Benian GM. Mol Biol Cell. 2017 Jun 15;28(12):1591-1600.
  7. Neurodegeneration in C. elegans models of ALS requires TIR-1/Sarm1 immune pathwayactivation in neurons. Veriepe J ; Fossouo L ; Parker JA. Nat Commun. 2015 Jun 10;6:7319.
  8. Twitchin kinase interacts with MAPKAP kinase 2 in Caenorhabditis elegans striated muscle. Matsunaga Y ; Qadota H ; Furukawa M ; Choe HH ; Benian GM. Mol Biol Cell. 2015 Jun 1;26(11):2096-111.
  9. Insulin/IGF-1 receptor signaling enhances biosynthetic activity and fat mobilization in the initialphase of starvation in adult male C. elegans. Tan KT ; Luo SC ; Ho WZ ; Lee YH. Cell Metab. 2011 Sep 7;14(3):390-402.

Parasitic Worms

  1. Comparison of electrophysiological and  motility assays to study anthelmintic effects in Caenorhabditis elegans. Steffen R. Hahnel, William M. Roberts, Iring Heisler, Daniel Kulke, Janis C. Weeks. International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance. Volume 16, August 2021, Pages 174-187.
  2. Bioassay-guided isolation of three anthelmintic compounds from Warburgia ugandensis Sprague subspecies ugandensis, and the mechanism of action of polygodial. Liu M, Kipanga P, Mai AH, Dhondt I, Braeckman BP, De Borggraeve W, Luyten W.  Int J Parasitol. 2018 Sep;48(11):833-844. 
  3. Screening of a drug repurposing library with a nematode motility assay identifies promising anthelmintic hits against Cooperia oncophora and other ruminant parasites. Liu M., Landuyt B., Klaassen H., Geldhof P., Luyten W. Veterinary Parasitology. 2018 Dec. 
  4. The nervous and prenervous roles of serotonin in Echinococcus spp. Camicia F, Herz M, Prada LC, Kamenetzky L, Simonetta SH, Cucher MA, Bianchi JI, Fernández C, Brehm K, Rosenzvit MC. Int J Parasitol. 2013 Jul;43(8):647-59.
  5. Unique pharmacological properties of serotoninergic G-protein coupled receptors from cestodes. Rosenzvit MC et al. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2018 Feb; 12(2): e0006267.

Technical Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Using wMicrotracker, it is possible to perform experiments with up to 70 worms and as few as 1 worm.

The wMicroTracker can be used with standard “U” bottom and “flat” bottom microplates. The U-plate motion signals saturate more quickly than in flat bottom plates. We have also found the detection sensitivity to be greater in the “U” bottom plate. Not that for smaller populations, “U” bottom plates have less variability between wells.

Few number of worms are required, and subtle movements can be detected at the expense of smaller volumes of reagents.

Worm interactions are minimized in this case and signal linearity is maintained when the number of worms are increased or decreased.

The system is compatible with most worm strains including wild nematode isolates and parasitic nematodes. Non motile/non-good swimming strains (such as roll or severe unc mutants) are not recommended.

Yes, the Microtracker can measure worm activity form L1 to older adult for weeks. Be sure to validate your liquid culture protocol before using it in the WMicroTracker.

Although the wMicroTracker does not have a camera, it is possible to correlate the wMicroTracker’s data (number of beam breaks) to the number of body bends per minute.

You can measure movement in populations of larvae as early as L1.

It is not recommended. However, it is possible to perform experiments with as few as 1 worm. See graphs in this Tech Note for more details.

Yes. Worms can be measured in the wMicroTracker for multiple days when placed in bacteria. We recommend that you use fresh bacteria at an OD600 of 0.5 (up to 1). Under these conditions, adult worms usually have enough food for 3-5 days. Another option is to cultivate your worms in axenic media (CeMM) instead of using bacteria.

The wMicroTracker can acquire data on your worms for weeks without interruption. The limiting factor for longitudinal studies will be determined by your worm culture protocol and requirements. For long term data acquisition in the wMicroTracker, we recommend that you place your worms in axenic media. We recommend that you conduct measurements for at least 100 minutes to reduce standard error. See protocol for healthspan assays.

We observed no degradation of the LEDs over time. The LEDs in the wMicroTrackers have a lifetime of 36,000 hours. Since they flash every 1/384 sec, this is equivalent of 10 years of use. The wMicroTracker was engineered to auto-compensate and auto-calibrate the beams to maintain signal linearity over time.

The infra-red beams in the wMicroTracker are generated by low-power LEDs and have been shownto be non-invasive for C. elegans (Simonetta and Golombek 2007).

Yes, you can download the wMicroTracker software here.

The LED beams pulse every 1/384 sec and the software records every interruptions of the beams. This data is pooled and analyzed when the data report is generated by the software and presented as “average activity count by data interval”. You can always change the analysis bin (data interval) size after the data is collected. The minimum bin size recommended for analysis is 5 minutes. Choosing smaller bins may increase variability of your data.

The LED beams have a diameter of 150 µm, which is larger than the diameter of an adult C. elegans worm (100 µm on average).
What are the beam specs?
• Wavelength: Infrared, 880nm
• Temperature: no heat generated
• Pulse frequency: 1/384 sec
• Number of beams per well for the wMicroTracker.
– 96-well plate: 2 beams per well
– 384-well plate: 1 beam per well
These properties cannot be modified.

Computer minimum requirements:
• Pentium II processor or above (>1GHz clock)
• 512Mb of RAM memory
• 1 USB port
• Windows XP 32 bits (or higher) operating system
• 200Mb of free HD space (>10Gb free HD space recommended for real time data saving)

The wMicroTracker creates a folder for each experiment. The raw data for a 2-hour experiment is about 20 Kb. The Excel export file for such an experiment is about 15 Kb.

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