Researchers have created a 3D printed microchip electrophoresis device that can sensitively detect three serum biomarkers of PTB.

A 3D printed microchip device separates and detects biomarkers of preterm birth. (Credit: Adapted from Anal. Chem. 2019, DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.9b01395)

The researchers printed their device onto a glass slide using a 3D printer with a custom resin as the ink. To achieve the best separation of three peptide biomarkers by electrophoresis, they optimized the device design, as well as parameters such as applied voltages and buffer identity and composition.

The 3D printed microchip could detect the three PTB bio-markers in the picomolar to low nanomolar range, similar to their 2D microfluidic device. The researchers note that although these detection limits are still higher than the PTB risk levels for the biomarkers, they could increase the sensitivity by adding a component to the device that concentrates the peptides.

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