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Open AccessArticle

High-Throughput Incubation and Quantification of Agglutination Assays in a Microfluidic System

1
Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences & Engineering Division (CEMSE), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), 4700 KAUST, Thuwal, Jeddah 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia
2
Mathematics and Natural Sciences Department, The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, Sulaymaniyah 46001, Iraq
3
Faculty of Medicine, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU), 80539 Munich, Germany
4
Okanagan Campus, School of Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science, University of British Columbia, 3333 University Way, Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2018, 9(6), 281; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes9060281
Received: 30 April 2018 / Revised: 27 May 2018 / Accepted: 29 May 2018 / Published: 4 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue From the Lab-on-a-Chip to the Organ-on-a-Chip)
In this paper, we present a two-phase microfluidic system capable of incubating and quantifying microbead-based agglutination assays. The microfluidic system is based on a simple fabrication solution, which requires only laboratory tubing filled with carrier oil, driven by negative pressure using a syringe pump. We provide a user-friendly interface, in which a pipette is used to insert single droplets of a 1.25-µL volume into a system that is continuously running and therefore works entirely on demand without the need for stopping, resetting or washing the system. These assays are incubated by highly efficient passive mixing with a sample-to-answer time of 2.5 min, a 5–10-fold improvement over traditional agglutination assays. We study system parameters such as channel length, incubation time and flow speed to select optimal assay conditions, using the streptavidin-biotin interaction as a model analyte quantified using optical image processing. We then investigate the effect of changing the concentration of both analyte and microbead concentrations, with a minimum detection limit of 100 ng/mL. The system can be both low- and high-throughput, depending on the rate at which assays are inserted. In our experiments, we were able to easily produce throughputs of 360 assays per hour by simple manual pipetting, which could be increased even further by automation and parallelization. Agglutination assays are a versatile tool, capable of detecting an ever-growing catalog of infectious diseases, proteins and metabolites. A system such as this one is a step towards being able to produce high-throughput microfluidic diagnostic solutions with widespread adoption. The development of analytical techniques in the microfluidic format, such as the one presented in this work, is an important step in being able to continuously monitor the performance and microfluidic outputs of organ-on-chip devices. View Full-Text
Keywords: agglutination assay; lab-on-chip; microfluidics; high-throughput agglutination assay; lab-on-chip; microfluidics; high-throughput
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MDPI and ACS Style

Castro, D.; Conchouso, D.; Kodzius, R.; Arevalo, A.; Foulds, I.G. High-Throughput Incubation and Quantification of Agglutination Assays in a Microfluidic System. Genes 2018, 9, 281.

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