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22 December 2015 Testing organic toxicants on biomicrofluidic devices: why polymeric substrata can lead you into trouble
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Advances in microfabrication technologies and manufacturing over last decade, allowed for inexpensive prototyping of microfluidic chip-based devices for biomedical studies in biocompatible and optically transparent elastomeric polymers such as poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) and thermoplastics such as poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA). More resently, advanced additive manufacturing technologies such as stereolithography (SLA), capable of reproducing feature sizes less than 50 μm, pave a way towards a new generation of microfabrication techniques. The latter promise new methods to enable accelerated design, validation and optimisation of optical-grade biomicrofluidic Lab-on-a-Chip (LOC) devices.

The main limitation, however, of virtually all polymers that are used to both manufacture LOC devices as well as to provide fluidic interconnects is their significant hydrophobicity. Conventionally the hydrophobic properties were postulated to impede wetting and priming of the polymeric chip-based devices and tubing interconnects. Such issues were often solved with plasma treatment or ethanol priming to help wet the polymeric substrata and also reduce the nucleation and persistence of air bubbles.

In this work, we present evidence that use of certain hydrophobic polymers is a significant impediment in performing ecotoxicity tests of organic chemicals on biomicrofluidic devices. We report on electrostatic interaction between polymers and toxicants that lead to non-covalent adsorption and rapid depletion of chemicals from the tested media. This introduces a significant bioanalytical bias irrespectively of the fact that microfluidic tests are preformed under continuous perfusion.
© (2015) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Yushi Huang, Rhys Cartlidge, Feng Zhu, Dayanthi Nugegoda, and Donald Wlodkowic "Testing organic toxicants on biomicrofluidic devices: why polymeric substrata can lead you into trouble", Proc. SPIE 9668, Micro+Nano Materials, Devices, and Systems, 96681W (22 December 2015);

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