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Keywords:

  • amylase;
  • analysis;
  • enzyme assay;
  • instrumentation;
  • microfluidics

ABSTRACT:  This article describes work into a prototype system for the assay of amylase, using microfludic technologies. The new system has a significantly shorter cycle time than the current laboratory methods, which generally use microtitre plates, yet is capable of generating significantly superior results. As such, we have shown that sensitivity is enhanced by a factor of 10 in the standard assay trials, and by a factor of 2 in the real-sample lab trials. In both assays, the use of a microreactor system reduced the reaction time by a factor of 6.2, from 20 min incubation to 3.2 min. Basing the conclusion on the Megazyme Cerealpha Standard Method, and using the Cerealpha units as a measure of assay efficiency, the typical response for the microfluidic assay was shown to be 1.0 × 10−3 CU/mL (standard deviation [SD] 2.5 × 10−4 CU/mL), compared to 2.56 × 10−4 CU/mL (SD 5.94 × 10−5 CU/mL) for the standard macroassay. It is believed that this improvement in the reaction schematics is due to the inherent advantages of microfluidic devices such as superior mixing, higher thermal efficiency, and enhanced reaction kinetics.