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Issue 20, 2011
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Green microfluidic devices made of corn proteins

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An alternative green microfluidic device made of zein, a prolamin of corn, can be utilized as a disposable environmentally friendly microchip especially in agriculture applications. Using standard soft lithography and stereo lithography techniques, we fabricated thin zein films with microfluidic chambers and channels. These were bonded to both a glass slide and another zein film. The zein film with microfluidic features bonds irreversibly with other surfaces by vapor-deposition of ethanol to create an adhesive layer resulting in very little or no trapped air and small shape distortion. Zein-zein and zein-glass microfluidic devices demonstrated sufficient strength to facilitate fluid flow in a complex microfluidic design that showed no leakage under high hydraulic pressure. Zein-glass microfluidic devices with serpentine mixing design showed successful fluid manipulation as a concentration gradient of Rhodamine B solution was generated. The ease of fabrication and bonding and the flexibility and moldability of zein offer attractive possibilities for microfluidic device design and manufacturing. These devices can include several unit operations with mixing being one of the most commonly used. The zein-based microfluidic devices, made entirely from a biopolymer from agricultural origin, offer alternative environmentally friendly material choices that are less dependent on limited petroleum based polymer resources.

Graphical abstract: Green microfluidic devices made of corn proteins

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Article information

06 Aug 2011
16 Aug 2011
First published
15 Sep 2011

Lab Chip, 2011,11, 3419-3425
Article type

Green microfluidic devices made of corn proteins

J. Luecha, A. Hsiao, S. Brodsky, G. L. Liu and J. L. Kokini, Lab Chip, 2011, 11, 3419
DOI: 10.1039/C1LC20726A

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