This study aims to observe the wicking and separation characteristics of blood plasma in a cotton thread matrix functioning as a microfluidic thread-based analytical device (μTAD). We investigated several cotton thread treatment methods using ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) anticoagulant solution for wicking whole blood samples and separating its plasma. The blood of healthy Indonesian thin tailed sheep was used in this study to understand the properties of horizontal wicking and separation on the EDTA-treated μTAD. The wicking distance and blood cell separation from its plasma was observed for 120 s and documented using a digital phone camera. The results show that untreated cotton-threads stopped the blood wicking process on the μTAD. On the other hand, the deposition of EDTA anticoagulant followed by its drying on the thread at room temperature for 10 s provides the longest blood wicking with gradual blood plasma separation. Furthermore, the best results in terms of the longest wicking and the clearest on-thread separation boundary between blood cells and its plasma were obtained using the μTAD treated with EDTA deposition followed by 60 min drying at refrigerated temperature (2-8 °C). The separation length of blood plasma in the μTADs treated with dried-EDTA at both room and refrigerated temperatures was not statistically different (P > 0.05). This separation occurs through the synergy of three factors, cotton fiber, EDTA anticoagulant and blood platelets, which induce the formation of a fibrin-filter via a partial coagulation process in the EDTA-treated μTAD. An albumin assay was employed to demonstrate the efficiency of this plasma separation method during a one-step assay on the μTAD. Albumin in blood is an important biomarker for kidney and heart disease. The μTAD has a slightly better limit of detection (LOD) than conventional blood analysis, with an LOD of 114 mg L(-1) compared to 133 mg L(-1), respectively. However, the μTAD performed faster to get results after 3 min compared to 14 min for centrifuged analysis of sheep blood samples. In conclusion, on-thread dried-EDTA anticoagulant deposition was able to increase the wicking distance and has a better capability to separate blood plasma and is suitable for combining separation and the assay system in a single device.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.