The Zantiks MWP is a small innovative system for live video-tracking and providing stimuli for small organisms. Model organisms that can be used with this system include embryo and larval zebrafish, adult and larval Drosophila, Xenopus tadpole, Artemia, neonate to adults Daphnia, and C. elegans. The stimulus is provided in Petri dishes, multi-well plates, or custom chambers. The system can be used for various studies, including locomotor activity, startle response, toxicity, drug screening, habituation, circadian rhythm monitoring, and prepulse inhibition.
The Zantik MWP is ideal for automated behavioral studies. It is simple to operate, affordable, offers advanced functionality, and has a small footprint. Moreover, it also provides an isolated and stable testing environment through temperature and light control and visual and audio stimuli. The Zantik MWP unit comes with a router and is controlled via a web browser. It only requires a small space on a lab bench, a nearby power supply, and a computer/laptop, tablet, or smartphone to operate. Although the system is primarily used for behavioral studies, it can also be used for phenotyping model organisms.
The unit provides consistent and comprehensive video tracking. Video tracking and recording can be done for up to 96 single housed animals at 30 Hz. However, tracking can also be done at 90 Hz in a smaller central area. All units come with Zanscript software preprogrammed with several settings and sample experiment scripts for running the experiments.
The Zantiks MWP consists of an integrated unit measuring 270 mm in height, 220 mm in depth, and 160 mm in width. Each unit includes built-in features consisting of a computer, camera, overhead house lights, temperature control, built-in stimuli, and Zantiks software. Visual stimuli are provided through a screen, and auditory stimuli are provided through a vibrating motor. The first unit is provided with one Zantiks router, and subsequent units can be networked to this router. A 12V power cable comes with each unit.
All units contain a standard temperature control system; however, the Peltier temperature control system can be provided at an additional cost for a greater temperature control range. The temperature is monitored from a thermistor mounted at the side of the testing chamber. The standard temperature control unit can control the temperature to 2-10°C above ambient. It operates by moving the air through the testing chamber. In contrast, the Peltier temperature control unit can control the temperature from 8°C below to 12°C above ambient. It operates by circulating the air in the testing chamber. The home screen of the console displays the current temperature.
A light stimulation plate can also be purchased as add-on equipment. It plugs directly into the MWP unit and does not require an additional power supply. It has different wavelengths with a peak stimulation at 470nm.
The color, brightness, and duration of the overhead houselights can be specified with ms accuracy. It can be used for circadian rhythm entrainment, ambient lighting, and light flashes.
The MWP system has two versions that are identical in external structure and measure 190 mm in width, 230 mm in length, and 480 mm in height. However, each version is recommended for tracking different organisms.
- MWP_vb – This unit is recommended for tracking animals in the water, such as larval zebrafish and Daphnia. It is suited for PPI studies and for generating startle responses. It is equipped with a vibration plate for delivering auditory or vibratory stimuli. The duration, frequency, and intensity of the vibrations can be controlled with ms accuracy.
- MWP_sc – This unit is recommended for tracking Drosophila. It is equipped with a built-in screen at the bottom of the tracking chamber to display colors and images.
Each MWP unit contains a stand to hold multi-well plates or Petri dishes. The type of stand provided depends on the unit. A diffuser stand comes with the MWP_vb unit, and a clear stand comes with the MWP_sc unit.
Experiment and Set-up
The Zantiks MWP system is compatible with small organisms, including embryo and larval zebrafish, adult and larval Drosophila, and neonate to adults Daphnia. The unit enables easy-to-run and high throughput experiments.
Before starting an experiment, the MWP unit needs to be set up.
- Place the MWP unit on a stable surface such as a lab bench and near a power socket.
- On the top left side of the socket of the MWP, insert the 12V power supply cable and then plug it into the main socket.
- Connect the ethernet cable to the side of the MWP unit. Plug the cable into one of the four slots of the LAN section of the router.
- Turn on the main power supply of the MWP unit and the router. The MWP_sc version will display the IP address on the screen, which begins with the same seven digits 192.168.1. The IP address for the MWP_vb version is included in the delivery note.
- The IP address is used to identify the Zantiks Control Console unit. The address for only one unit will be 126.96.36.199.
- Using a website browser:
- Go to the device’s network setting and connect to the “Zantiks” wifi network
- Type in the network password
- Type in the IP address of the Zantiks unit in the address bar of the website browser
- The Zantiks Control Console page should display on the web browser.
The web browser can be used to view live videos, edit scripts, start and stop chosen services, and download results in .csv format.
After setting up the MWP unit, it is ready to track animals, provide stimuli, and gather data. The following data can be gathered using the Zantiks MWP:
- Tracking of startle responses, including startle flight responses and walking movements. Startle flight responses can be distinguished from walking movements since they are displayed as rapid movements in straight lines.
- Tracking startle responses in light-on and light-off conditions.
- Tracking the distance traveled by the animal
- Establishing the vibrational frequency resulting in the greatest distance traveled.
- Examining habituation of the startle responses to the vibrations or visual stimuli.
Strengths and Limitations
The Zantiks MWP allows live and real-time video tracking and recording of animal behavior. It also provides stimuli for small organisms. It is an integrated system and includes a camera, computer, built-in stimuli, and experimental chamber. It provides a stable and isolated testing environment that can be controlled through any device with a website browser. The experiment results can be processed in real-time and downloaded in .csv format. The unit takes up little bench space and only requires a 12V power and network connection. The Zanscript software is used to operate the unit, so new users will need to learn how to use it. However, it comes with pre-made templates to help users understand how to make their scripts for experiments.
Summary and Key Points
- The Zantiks MWP is an innovative system for live video-tracking and providing stimuli for small organisms.
- It can be used on model organisms, including larval zebrafish, adult and larval Drosophilia, Xenopus tadpole, and Artemia.
- It can be used to measure locomotor activity, startle responses, prepulse inhibition, circadian rhythm, toxicity, and habituation of small organisms.
- It comes in two versions: the MWP_vb uses vibratory/auditory stimuli, and the MWP_sc version uses visual stimuli.
- It uses the Zanscript software for experiment specification.