This report details an approach to saliva conditioning for compatibility of raw patient samples with microfluidic immunoassay components, principally biosensor surfaces susceptible to fouling. Stimulated whole human saliva spiked with a small molecule analyte (phenytoin, 252 Da) was first depleted of cells, debris and high molecular weight glycoproteins (mucins) using membrane filtration. This process significantly reduced but did not eliminate fouling of biosensor surfaces exposed to the sample. An H-filter, which separates solutes from mixed samples based on their diffusion in laminar flow, was used to extract the analyte from the remaining large molecular weight species in the filtered saliva sample. Patient samples treated in this way retained 23% of the analyte with 97% and 92% reduction in glycoproteins and proteins, respectively, and resulted in 3.6 times less surface fouling than either untreated or filtered saliva alone. These sample conditioning steps will enable the use of fouling-sensitive detection techniques in future studies using clinical saliva samples.
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