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Low-cost, real-time, continuous flow PCR system for pathogen detection

: Fernandez-Carballo, B.L.; McGuiness, I.; McBeth, C.; Kalashnikov, M.; Borros, S.; Sharon, A.; Sauer-Budge, A.F.


Biomedical microdevices 18 (2016), No.2, Art. 34
ISSN: 1387-2176
European Commission EC
FP7-ICT; 318088; ML²
Design platform for economic production of multilayer Micro-Nano Bio Systems
Journal Article
Fraunhofer CMI ()

In this paper, we present a portable and low cost point-of-care (POC) PCR system for quantitative detection of pathogens. Our system is based on continuous flow PCR which maintains fixed temperatures zones and pushes the PCR solution between two heated areas allowing for faster heat transfer and as a result, a faster PCR. The PCR system is built around a 46.0 mmx 30.9 mmx 0.4 mm disposable thermoplastic chip. In order to make the single-use chip economically viable, it was manufactured by hot embossing and was designed to be compatible with roll-to-roll embossing for large scale production. The prototype instrumentation surrounding the chip includes two heaters, thermal sensors, and an optical system. The optical system allows for pathogen detection via real time fluorescence measurements. FAM probes were used as fluorescent reporters of the amplicons generated during the PCR. To demonstrate the function of the chip, two infectious bacteria targets were selected: Chlamydia trachomatis and Escherichia coli O157:H7. For both bacteria, the limit of detection of the system was determined, PCR efficiencies were calculated, and different flow velocities were tested. We have demonstrated successful detection for these two bacterial pathogens highlighting the versatility and broad utility of our portable, low-cost, and rapid PCR diagnostic device.