The lab-on-a-chip concept has led to several point-of-care (POC) diagnostic microfluidic platforms. However, few of these can process raw samples for molecular diagnosis and fewer yet are suited for use in a resource-limited setting without permanent electrical infrastructure. We present here a very low cost paper microfluidic device for POC extraction of bacterial DNA from raw viscous samples—a challenge for conventional microfluidic platforms. This is an example of “microfluidic origami” in that the system is activated by folding; demonstrated here is room temperature cell lysis and DNA extraction from pig mucin (simulating sputum) spiked with E. coli without the use of external power. The microfluidic origami device features dry reagent storage and rehydration of the lysis buffer. We demonstrate DNA extraction from samples with a bacterial load as low as 33 CFU ml−1. Extraction times, starting from the raw sample, have been optimized to about 1.5 h without the use of external power, or to within 1 h using an oven or a heater block. The fabrication of this paper microfluidic device can be translated into high volume production in the developing world without the need for a semiconductor clean room or a microfabrication facility. The sample preparation can be performed with the addition of just the sample, water, ethanol and elute buffer to the device, thus reducing chemical hazards during transport and handling.
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