mikrokanaele 025


Innovative sample preparation to examine viruses by means of microfluidic chip technology

Funding: big
Project Duration: 1.11.2006 - 31.12.2008
Project Manager: Anna Lena Schomacker
Homepage: -

The objective of the Viruschip project was a specific enrichment of virus particles from natural swimming baths with the aid of bio-activated microfluidic chips for quality control of the water.

The background is a possible contamination of swimming bath water with human pathogenic viruses which must be reduced, in accordance with the relevant water regulation (DIN 19645 (2006)), by over 7 log units during conditioning. This occurs with traditional methods such as flocking, filtration, if necessary absorption on active carbon and chlorination. A newer method is ultrafiltration, however none of the methods listed permits a quantitative and specific virus detection. Numerous human pathogenic viruses can be detected in swimming bath water. These include, for example, enteroviruses, adenoviruses, hepatitis A viruses, noroviruses and papillomaviruses. In the Viruschip project, an innovative biological/technical process was developed. This process permits a faster and more specific enrichment of virus particles with the aid of microfluidic chips in the nanometer range from larger volumes of liquid in comparison to conventional methods. Enrichment is achieved by using antibodies which are immobilised and aligned to the sample solution within microfluidic structures. Short diffusion routes from the antigen to the antibody make it possible to bind the virus particles efficiently. In addition, structure combinations within the microfluidic chip ensure that the laminar liquid flow is split, which also improves antibody-antigen binding. The detection and quantification of the enriched virus particles using the example of hepatitis A viruses was carried out in this project via Real-Time PCR. In subsequent projects, e.g. NANODETECT, a micro-optical component is being developed which aims to analyse signals locally.

In general, the system developed offers variable possibilities for application by replacing the specific antibody. Thus, for example, other types of contamination from liquids can be enriched. The system is small and robust which means it could be used for on-site analysis as a handheld device.

Follow-on projects to the Viruschip project are NANODETECT and TOXsense.

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