Microfluidic testing is being transformed by iPODs(The Integrated Portable Droplets system) for a faster and more portable future. The Integrated Portable Droplet System (iPODs) device provides a mobile, affordable and user-friendly droplet analysis system for rapid results testing with high accuracy in identifying and quantifying bacterial species.
The importance of fast-paced tests has increased in our fast-paced society. Point-of-care testing (POCT) can be done more quickly using droplet microfluidics, but it is not always conclusive and currently requires some external work for optimum use.
The Integrated Portable Droplets system, or iPODs, was created by researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology (QIBEBT) Single Cell Center. It is based on an automated flow-driven droplet reinjection chip that does not require external pumps or precise fluid control, providing portability, lower cost, and an easy-to-use droplet analysis method. The publication Analytical Chemistry recently published the study.
According to the researchers' findings, the automatic movement of droplets through the device reduces the need for manual handling, reducing the risk of errors, cross-contamination and sample loss.
They also discovered that samples with R101 values between 104 and 2 bacterial copies per microliter exhibited high linearity. The ability of the line to visually indicate how well the iPODs device (independent variable) can identify and count the bacterial species present in the sample (the dependent variable) depends on how close the R2 value is to 1.
In addition, the price of the device and the subsequent cost of each use are economical on a large scale. Another distinctive and important feature of the device is its portability, which allows it to be used in a variety of situations, such as outdoor environments or decentralized laboratories.
According to LIU Fengyi, PhD student and first author of the study, the portability of the device is declining and, more importantly, the development of droplet-based nucleic acid amplification testing for POCT is constrained. “In previous reports, droplet reinjection undoubtedly requires precise fluid control,” he added. Here, we show how the droplet reinjection chip's low instrument cost and low reagent use significantly simplifies the experimental setup and method of operation.
Droplet microfluidic testing involves obtaining a small amount of liquid for analysis, which often includes cell manipulation as well as single cell or single molecule analysis. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) very low levels of quantitative detection, which when done in batches result in “all or nothing” is a problem iPODs solve.
The droplet with iPODs is extremely sensitive and precise in determining the amount of nucleic acids present in the sample, thanks to the digital LAMP. The downside is that it requires precise fluid management and external pumps, both of which limit portability and increase costs. According to co-author and co-researcher GE Anle, “we present a droplet re-injection method that is capable of precise fluid control and droplet delivery without external pumps, in which droplets can be passively aligned and individually detected at intervals.”
In iPODs, the droplet generator, heating device and fluorescent signal reader are integrated into a small, retractable unit, eliminating the need for an additional pump and precise fluid management.
For this technology to work to its full potential, future changes will be required, including increased system stability and the inclusion of thermocycling modules for droplet digital PCR (ddPCR). The system will become more user-friendly with further addition of other inexpensive chip materials for large-scale, standardized production and the introduction of fully automated operation processes.
From the Single Cell Center, Prof. MA Bo is the lead author of the study. “Once the device is fully developed, we hope to see the technology used in a wide range of applications, from point-of-care biochemical testing to a more clinical trial-based setting,” he said.
📩 07/05/2023 17:34