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A low-energy, low-cost field deployable sampler for microbial DNA profiling

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Filtration for microfluidic sample-collection devices is desirable for sample selection, concentration, preprocessing, and downstream manipulation, but microfabricating the required sub-micrometer filtration structure is an elaborate process. This thesis presents a

Filtration for microfluidic sample-collection devices is desirable for sample selection, concentration, preprocessing, and downstream manipulation, but microfabricating the required sub-micrometer filtration structure is an elaborate process. This thesis presents a simple method to fabricate polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) devices with an integrated membrane filter that will sample, lyse, and extract the DNA from microorganisms in aqueous environments. An off-the-shelf membrane filter disc was embedded in a PDMS layer and sequentially bound with other PDMS channel layers. No leakage was observed during filtration. This device was validated by concentrating a large amount of cyanobacterium Synechocystis in simulated sample water with consistent performance across devices. After accumulating sufficient biomass on the filter, a sequential electrochemical lysing process was performed by applying 5VDC across the filter. This device was further evaluated by delivering several samples of differing concentrations of cyanobacterium Synechocystis then quantifying the DNA using real-time PCR. Lastly, an environmental sample was run through the device and the amount of photosynthetic microorganisms present in the water was determined. The major breakthroughs in this design are low energy demand, cheap materials, simple design, straightforward fabrication, and robust performance, together enabling wide-utility of similar chip-based devices for field-deployable operations in environmental micro-biotechnology.

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  • 2011