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Extraction and purification of DNA is a prerequisite to detection and analytical techniques. While DNA sample preparation methods have improved over the last few decades, current methods are still time consuming and labor intensive. Here we demonstrate a technology termed IFAST (Immiscible Filtration Assisted by Surface Tension), that relies on immiscible phase filtration to reduce the time and effort required to purify DNA. IFAST replaces the multiple wash and centrifugation steps required by traditional DNA sample preparation methods with a single step. To operate, DNA from lysed cells is bound to paramagnetic particles (PMPs) and drawn through an immiscible fluid phase barrier (i.e. oil) by an external handheld magnet. Purified DNA is then eluted from the PMPs. Here, detection of Clostridium botulinum type A (BoNT/A) in food matrices (milk, orange juice), a bioterrorism concern, was used as a model system to establish IFAST's utility in detection assays. Data validated that the DNA purified by IFAST was functional as a qPCR template to amplify the bont/A gene. The sensitivity limit of IFAST was comparable to the commercially available Invitrogen ChargeSwitch® method. Notably, pathogen detection via IFAST required only 8.5 μL of sample and was accomplished in five-fold less time. The simplicity, rapidity and portability of IFAST offer significant advantages when compared to existing DNA sample preparation methods.
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