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Inertial focusing of microparticles, bacteria, and blood in serpentine glass channels

Rodriguez-Mateos, Pablo; Ngamsom, Bongkot; Dyer, Charlotte E.; Iles, Alexander; Pamme, Nicole


Pablo Rodriguez-Mateos

Bongkot Ngamsom

Alexander Iles

Nicole Pamme


Early detection of pathogenic microorganisms is pivotal to diagnosis and prevention of health and safety crises. Standard methods for pathogen detection often rely on lengthy culturing procedures, confirmed by biochemical assays, leading to >24 h for a diagnosis. The main challenge for pathogen detection is their low concentration within complex matrices. Detection of blood-borne pathogens via techniques such as PCR requires an initial positive blood culture and removal of inhibitory blood components, reducing its potential as a diagnostic tool. Among different label-free microfluidic techniques, inertial focusing on microscale channels holds great promise for automation, parallelization, and passive continuous separation of particles and cells. This work presents inertial microfluidic manipulation of small particles and cells (1–10 μm) in curved serpentine glass channels etched at different depths (deep and shallow designs) that can be exploited for (1) bacteria preconcentration from biological samples and (2) bacteria-blood cell separation. In our shallow device, the ability to focus Escherichia coli into the channel side streams with high recovery (89% at 2.2× preconcentration factor) could be applied for bacteria preconcentration in urine for diagnosis of urinary tract infections. Relying on differential equilibrium positions of red blood cells and E. coli inside the deep device, 97% red blood cells were depleted from 1:50 diluted blood with 54% E. coli recovered at a throughput of 0.7 mL/min. Parallelization of such devices could process relevant volumes of 7 mL whole blood in 10 min, allowing faster sample preparation for downstream molecular diagnostics of bacteria present in bloodstream.


Rodriguez-Mateos, P., Ngamsom, B., Dyer, C. E., Iles, A., & Pamme, N. (in press). Inertial focusing of microparticles, bacteria, and blood in serpentine glass channels. ELECTROPHORESIS,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 18, 2021
Online Publication Date May 25, 2021
Deposit Date May 27, 2021
Publicly Available Date May 26, 2022
Journal Electrophoresis
Print ISSN 0173-0835
Electronic ISSN 1522-2683
Publisher Wiley-VCH Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Bacteria; Inertial; Microfluidics; Pre-concentration; Separation
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