1Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.
Micrometre- and submicrometre-size functionalized beads are frequently used to capture targets of interest from a biological sample for biological characterizations and disease diagnosis. The main challenge of the microbead-based assay is in the immobilization of probe molecules onto the microbead surfaces. In this paper, we report a versatile droplet microfluidics method to fabricate alginate microspheres while simultaneously immobilizing anti-Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex IgY and anti-Escherichia coli IgG antibodies primarily on the porous alginate carriers for specific binding and binding affinity tests. The binding affinity of antibodies is directly measured by fluorescence intensity of stained target bacteria on the microspheres. We demonstrate that the functionalized alginate microspheres yield specificity comparable with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The high surface area-to-volume ratio of the functionalized porous alginate microspheres improves the detection limit. By using the droplet microfluidics, we can easily modify the size and shape of alginate microspheres, and increase the concentration of functionalized alginate microspheres to further enhance binding kinetics and enable multiplexing.
alginate, antibodies, microfluidics