We report a prototype protein separator that successfully miniaturizes existing technology for potential use in biocompatible health monitoring implants. The prototype is a liquid chromatography (LC) column (LC mini-column) fabricated on an inexpensive, flexible, biocompatible polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) enclosure. The LC mini-column separates a mixture of proteins using size exclusion chromatography (SEC) with polydivinylbenzene beads (5-20 νm in diameter with 10 nm pore size). The LC mini-column is smaller than any commercially available LC column by a factor of ∼11 000 and successfully separates denatured and native protein mixtures at ∼71 psi of the applied fluidic pressure. Separated proteins are analyzed using NuPAGE-gel electrophoresis, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and an automated electrophoresis system. Quantitative HPLC results demonstrate successful separation based on intensity change: within 12 min, the intensity between large and small protein peaks changed by a factor of ∼20. In further evaluation using the automated electrophoresis system, the plate height of the LC mini-column is between 36 νm and 100 νm. The prototype LC mini-column shows the potential for real-time health monitoring in applications that require inexpensive, flexible implant technology that can function effectively under non-laboratory conditions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering