Autonomous Microfluidic Sample Preparation System for Protein Profile-Based Detection of Aerosolized Bacterial Cells and Spores
For domestic and military security, an autonomous system capable of continuously monitoring for airborne biothreat agents is necessary. At present, no system meets the requirements for size, speed, sensitivity, and selectivity to warn against and lead to the prevention of infection in field settings. We present a fully automated system for the detection of aerosolized bacterial biothreat agents such as Bacillus subtilis (surrogate for Bacillus anthracis) based on protein profiling by chip gel electrophoresis coupled with a microfluidic sample preparation system. Protein profiling has previously been demonstrated to differentiate between bacterial organisms. With the goal of reducing response time, multiple microfluidic component modules, including aerosol collection via a commercially available collector, concentration, thermochemical lysis, size exclusion chromatography, fluorescent labeling, and chip gel electrophoresis were integrated together to create an autonomous collection/sample preparation/analysis system. The cycle time for sample preparation was approximately 5 min, while total cycle time, including chip gel electrophoresis, was approximately 10 min. Sensitivity of the coupled system for the detection of B. subtilis spores was 16 agent-containing particles per liter of air, based on samples that were prepared to simulate those collected by wetted cyclone aerosol collector of 80% efficiency operating for 7 min.
Stachowiak, J.C.; Shugard, E.E.; Mosier, B.P.; Renzi, R.F.; Caton, P.F.; Ferko, S.M.; Van de Vreugde, J.L.; Yee, D.D.; Haroldsen, B.L.; VanderNoot, V.A., Autonomous Microfluidic Sample Preparation System for Protein Profile-Based Detection of Aerosolized Bacterial Cells and Spores, Anal. Chem. 2007, 79, 5763-5770.