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Selective Distance-Based K⁺ Quantification on Paper-Based Microfluidics

Gerold, Chase T., Bakker, Eric, Henry, Charles S.
Analytical chemistry 2018 v.90 no.7 pp. 4894-4900
blood serum, colorimetry, humans, ions, lipophilicity, lithium, magnesium, potassium, pumps, sodium, solvents, valinomycin
In this study, paper-based microfluidic devices (μPADs) capable of K⁺ quantification in aqueous samples, as well as in human serum, using both colorimetric and distance-based methods are described. A lipophilic phase containing potassium ionophore I (valinomycin) was utilized to achieve highly selective quantification of K⁺ in the presence of Na⁺, Li⁺, and Mg²⁺ ions. Successful addition of a suspended lipophilic phase to a wax printed paper-based device is described and offers a solution to current approaches that rely on organic solvents, which damage wax barriers. The approach provides an avenue for future alkali/alkaline quantification utilizing μPADs. Colorimetric spot tests allowed for K⁺ quantification from 0.1–5.0 mM using only 3.00 μL of sample solution. Selective distance-based quantification required small sample volumes (6.00 μL) and gave responses sensitive enough to distinguish between 1.0 and 2.5 mM of sample K⁺. μPADs using distance-based methods were also capable of differentiating between 4.3 and 6.9 mM K⁺ in human serum samples. Distance-based methods required no digital analysis, electronic hardware, or pumps; any steps required for quantification could be carried out using the naked eye.