Microfluidic diagnostic devices promise faster disease identification by purifying and concentrating low-abundance analytes from a flowing sample. The diagnosis of sepsis, a whole body inflammatory response often caused by microbial infections of the blood, is a model system for pursuing the advantages of microfluidic devices over traditional diagnostic protocols. Traditional sepsis diagnoses require large blood samples and several days to culture and identify the low concentration microbial agent. During these long delays while culturing, the physician has little or no actionable information to treat this acute illness. We designed a microfluidic chip using dielectrophoresis to sort and concentrate the target microbe from a flowing blood sample. This design was optimized using the applicable electrokinetic and hydrodynamic theories. We quantify the sorting efficiency of this device using growth-based assays which show 30% of injected microbes are recovered viable, consistent with the electroporation of target cells by the dielectrophoretic cell sorters. Finally, the results illustrate the device is capable of a five-fold larger microbe concentration in the target analyte stream compared to the waste stream at a continuous sample flow rate of 35 μl/h.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics
- General Materials Science
- Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
- Biomedical Engineering
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry