Reagent pre-storage in a microfluidic chip can enhance operator convenience, simplify the system design, reduce the cost of storage and shipment, and avoid the risk of cross-contamination. Although dry reagents have long been used in lateral flow immunoassays, they have rarely been used for nucleic acid-based point-of-care (POC) assays due to the lack of reliable techniques to dehydrate and store fragile molecules involved in the reaction. In this study, we describe a simple and efficient method for prolonged on-chip storage of PCR reagents. The method is based on gelification of all reagents required for PCR as a ready-to-use product. The approach was successfully implemented in a lab-on-a-foil system, and the gelification process was automated for mass production. Integration of reagents on-chip by gelification greatly facilitated the development of easy-to-use lab-on-a-chip (LOC) devices for fast and cost-effective POC analysis.
Lab on a Chip, 2013, Vol 13, Issue 8, p. 1509-1514