Reagent pencils: a new technique for solvent-free deposition of reagents onto paper-based microfluidic devices†
Custom-made pencils containing reagents dispersed in a solid matrix were developed to enable rapid and solvent-free deposition of reagents onto membrane-based fluidic devices. The technique is as simple as drawing with the reagent pencils on a device. When aqueous samples are added to the device, the reagents dissolve from the pencil matrix and become available to react with analytes in the sample. Colorimetric glucose assays conducted on devices prepared using reagent pencils had comparable accuracy and precision to assays conducted on conventional devices prepared with reagents deposited from solution. Most importantly, sensitive reagents, such as enzymes, are stable in the pencils under ambient conditions, and no significant decrease in the activity of the enzyme horseradish peroxidase stored in a pencil was observed after 63 days. Reagent pencils offer a new option for preparing and customizing diagnostic tests at the point of care without the need for specialized equipment.